WAI Authoring Tool Guidelines
W3C Working Draft
- This version:
- Latest version:
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- Jutta Treviranus <email@example.com>
- Jan Richards <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nancy Sicchia <email@example.com>
- Ian Jacobs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Charles McCathieNevile <email@example.com>
This document provides guidelines to authoring tool manufacturers
or developers. The purpose of this document is two-fold: to assist
developers in designing authoring tools that generate accessible Web
content and to assist developers in creating an accessible authoring
tool user interface. Accessible Web content is achieved by encouraging
authoring tool users to create accessible Web content (through
mechanisms such as prompts, alerts, checking and repair functions,
help files and automated tools), but also by ensuring that the
automatic processes of the authoring tool generate accessible
content. This will result in authoring tools that can be used by a
broader range of users and in the proliferation of Web pages that can
be read by a broader range of readers.
This document is part of a series of accessibility documents
published by the W3C Web
Status of this document
This is a W3C Working Draft of the W3C WAI Authoring
Tool Guidelines. for review by W3C Membersand other interested
parties. It is a draft document
and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any
time. It is inappropriate to use W3C Working Drafts as reference
material or to cite them as other than "work in progress". This is
work in progress and does not imply endorsement by, or the consensus
of, either W3C or members of the WAI Authoring Tool (AU) Working
The goals of the WAI AU
Working Group are discussed in the WAI AU charter. A list of
the current AU Working Group members is
Please send comments about this document to the public mailing
The guidelines in this document are meant to help authoring tool
developers and vendors design products that encourage authors to adopt
accessible authoring practices. For the purposes of this document the
term "authoring tool" will refer to authoring tools, generation tools and conversion tools. These guidelines
emphasize the role of the user interface in informing, supporting,
correcting and motivating authors during the editing process. For a
more detailed discussion of accessible Web authoring practices, see
the WAI Page Author Guidelines
To assist in implementing the guidelines, each guideline in this
document is assigned a priority.
- This guideline is fundamental to the accessibility of authoring tools, or to the creation of accessible documents by authoring tools.
- This guideline is important to the accessibility of authoring tools, or to the creation of accessible documents by authoring tools.
- This guideline promotes the accessibility of authoring tools, or the creation of accessible documents by authoring tools.
This document also refers to guidelines and techniques defined in
the WAI Page Author Guidelines and to
priorities assigned to them (indicated, for example, by [Page-Author-Priority 1]).
Guiding Principle: The power of automation should be
utilized to free authors to concentrate on description writing and
other higher-level aspects of Web accessibility.
Guiding Principle: The acceptance of accessible authoring
practices requires that accessibility become a fundamental part of
The first step towards accessibility is interoperability.
Authoring tools should ensure that content is created in accordance
with W3C specifications (or other standards when applicable).
Methods for ensuring accessible markup vary with different markup
languages. An authoring tool must support all accessibility features
that have been defined for the markup language(s) supported by the
tool. Listing the accessibility features of specific languages lies
beyond the scope of this document. However, an informative list of
documents that address accessible Web authoring practices follows.
Page Author Accessibility
Features: (The actual accessible markup solutions)
Page Author Implementation
Priorities: (The priorities placed on the accessibility
Mechanisms that can be employed by authoring tools to support
accessible authoring practices are discussed in Section 5.
Recommended accessible authoring
practices (and their
priorities) must be taken into account during the design of
relevant user interface components and program functionality.
- [Technique: 2.3.1] [Priority 1]
- When more than one means of performing a particular authoring
task is available, the most accessible means of performing that
task should be the most visible and easily initiated.
- [Technique: 2.3.2] [Priority 1]
- In cases where user input is ambiguous, authoring tools should
always assume that the author intends to maintain
- [Technique: 2.3.3] [Priority 1]
- When a [Page-Author-Priority
1] guideline advises against an authoring practice, authoring
tools must not recommend or otherwise encourage its use.
Authoring tools must be designed so that all processes that
manipulate markup text are sensitive to the existence of inaccessible markup. Note. the term
checking below does not necessarily imply that the user
must be alerted immediately.
- [Technique: 2.4.1] [Priority 1]
- Check existing documents when they are opened for editing.
- [Technique: 2.4.2] [Priority 1]
- Check documents during all types of
editing (including hand-coding, paste operations, and code
- [Technique: 2.4.3] [Priority 1]
- When problems are detected, the author should be alerted
according to a user-configurable schedule. See the section
on ensuring that users
may configure accessibility mechanisms
and Alert Techniques.
When an application converts documents from other formats into a
markup format such as HTML, author intervention may be required to
make the resulting documents accessible.
- [Technique: 2.5.1] [Priority 1]
- The author must be prompted, on a configurable schedule, to
provide "alt"-text for images, image maps, and image map
- [Technique: 2.5.2] [Priority 1]
- The authoring tool must never insert rule-generated description
text into the document (default "alt"-text) or a properties field
(place-holder "alt"-text). Automated processes may place
pre-authored (by a person) text when the meaning or function of the
described object is known with certainty.
- [Technique: 2.5.3] [Priority 1]
- The author must be prompted to provide captioning or
transcriptions for any video or audio segments.
- [Technique: 2.5.4] [Priority 3]
- The author should be given the option of providing a long
description for any graphic element.
The issues surrounding Web accessibility are often unknown to
Web authors. Providing convenient links to clear and
concisely written help files will contribute to author acceptance
of, and education about, markup accessibility.
- [Technique: 2.6.1] [Priority 1]
- Implement context sensitive help for all special accessibility
terms, as well as tasks related to accessibility. Mechanisms used to
identify accessibility problems such as icons, outlining or other
emphasis within the user interface should be linked to help files
as these may appear unfamiliar to the user.
- [Technique: 2.6.2] [Priority 1]
- The accessibility help files should explain the accessibility
problem or accessibility feature quickly, with emphasis placed on
the solutions available rather than placing emphasis on elements
that have been incorrectly marked up.
- [Technique: 2.6.3] [Priority 1]
- The help files should include many examples as well as links to
any automated correction utilities.
Textual descriptions, including "alt"-text, long descriptions,
video captions, and transcripts are absolutely necessary for the
accessibility of all images, applets, video, and audio files.
However, the task of writing these descriptions is probably the
most time-consuming accessibility recommendation made to the
- [Technique: 2.7.1] [Priority 2]
- Include professionally written descriptions for all multimedia
files packaged with the authoring tool (e.g. clip art) so that:
- users will be saved time and effort
- a significant number of professionally written descriptions
will begin to circulate
- users will be provided with convenient models to emulate when
they write their own descriptions
- users will see evidence of the importance of description
- [Technique: 2.7.2] [Priority 2]
- The authoring tool should make use of the pre-written
descriptions by suggesting them as default text whenever one of the
associated files is inserted into the author's document.
- [Technique: 2.7.3] [Priority 2]
- Increase user acceptance of pre-written
descriptions by allowing authors to make keyword
searches of the description database, thus simplifying the task of
finding relevant images.
Graphic representation of Web pages or Web site elements in site
management tools cannot be identified by third-party assistive
technologies that translate text to Braille, speech, or large
- [Technique: 2.8.1] [Priority 1]
- Allow the author to display the site map
in text form (e.g., as a structured tree file).
Accessibility issues often arise in complex markup tasks. Many
authoring tools provide automated tools or wizards to guide authors
in creating the relatively complex syntax needed to insert items
such as objects, tables, or frames.
- [Technique: 2.9.1] [Priority 1]
- When tasks for which page author accessibility guidelines exist
are automated, the relevant accessibility solutions must be
incorporated into the tool or wizard.
Many authoring tools allow their users to create documents with
little or no knowledge about the underlying markup.
- [Technique: 2.10.1] [Priority 1]
- In order to ensure that documents are made accessible according
to the WAI Page Author Guidelines,
authoring tools must include an automated tool that identifies and
helps correct accessibility problems.
- [Technique: 2.10.2] [Priority 1]
- The correcting tool must be designed in such a way that authors
can correct accessibility problems without necessarily
understanding the underlying structure of the language or
the details of markup accessibility.
If markup is automatically generated, the author will be unaware
of the accessibility status of the final product unless they expend
extra effort to make appropriate corrections by hand. Since most
authors are unfamiliar with accessibility, these problems are
likely to remain.
- [Technique: 2.11.1] [Priority 1]
markup insertion functions must make use of
appropriate accessible solutions, even if this means presenting the
author with extra prompts for necessary
information or structure during or following the process.
- [Technique: 2.11.2] [Priority 1]
- Automatic tools must make use of algorithms
that produce accessible
Many applications feature the ability to convert documents from
other formats (e.g., Rich Text Format) or proprietary formats into
a markup format, such as HTML. Markup changes may also be made to
facilitate efficient editing and manipulation. These processes are
usually hidden from the user's view and may create inaccessible
content or cause inaccessible content to be produced.
- [Technique: 2.12.1] [Priority 1]
- Conversion utilities must generate documents that respect the
WAI Page Author Guidelines.
- [Technique: 2.12.2] [Priority 1]
- Authoring tools must never remove or modify structure or
content that is necessary for continued accessibility.
- [Technique: 2.12.3] [Priority 1]
- Authors must be provided with the option of a receiving a
summary of all automated structural changes that may affect
Web authors have a broad range of skills and needs. Guidelines
in this section address the accessibility of the authoring tools to
Web authors. Authoring tools, like other software applications can
be made accessible in two ways:
- by building in a range of options for displaying information
and controlling the application,
- by making the tool compatible with third party assistive
technology (e.g., text to speech devices or alternative
Authoring tools are similar to and frequently include the
functionality of user agents. Most of the guidelines for providing
access to the authoring tool are covered in the WAI User Agent
Guidelines. Authoring tools should therefore comply with
the User Agent Guidelines. Issues not addressed by the User Agent
Guidelines are related to the additional and unique functionality
of authoring tools.
In supporting the creation of accessible Web content, authoring
tools must take into account the differing authoring styles of
their users. Some users may prefer to be alerted to problems when
they occur, whereas others may prefer to perform a check after the
document is completed. This is analogous to programming
environments that allow users to decide whether to check for
correct code during editing or at compile time.
- [Technique: 3.1.1] [Priority 1]
- Authoring tools must be designed so that users can indicate
their preferences regarding both the nature and timing of
- [Technique: 3.1.2] [Priority 1]
- The priority level given to accessibility recommendations
for a given language should be taken into account when
determining the level of user control. Specifically, the user
should have the option of determining the extent of alerts for [Page-Author-Priority 2] and [Page-Author-Priority 3]
- [Technique: 3.1.3] [Priority 1]
- Users should be prevented from completely disabling alerts for
items. The author should at least be notified using a
When a new feature is added to an existing software tool
without proper integration, the result is often an obvious
discontinuity. Differing color schemes, fonts, interaction styles
and even application stability can be factors affecting user
acceptance of the new feature.
- [Technique: 3.2.1] [Priority 2]
- In order to gain user acceptance of accessible authoring, it is
imperative that any new functionality associated with accessibility
be properly integrated into the overall "look and feel" of the
- [Technique: 3.2.2] [Priority 2]
- Accessibility features should never interfere with any of the
expected operations of an author's editing environment. For
example, fundamental operations such as saving, closing,
and pasting should not be canceled or postponed due to the
existence of accessibility problems.
When creating or editing a Web page the desired ultimate
rendering of the page may not be optimal for creating and
- [Technique: 3.3.1] [Priority 1]
- The authoring tools should support at least two views:
- an authoring/editing view
- a publishing or browser view, (similar to the normal and page
view or print preview of popular word processors).
- [Technique: 3.3.2] [Priority 1]
- In the authoring/editing view, the font size, letter and line
spacing, and text and background color should be independent of the
final format of the document.
Graphically represented elements cannot be identified by
third-party assistive technologies that translate text to Braille,
speech, or large print. Some authoring tools display the start and end
tags as graphics.
- [Technique: 3.4.1] [Priority 1]
- Allow the author to display tags in
a text format.
- [Technique: 3.4.2] [Priority 1]
- To help distinguish the start or end tag from the remainder of
the document, the tags should be surrounded by text brackets.
Guiding Principle: Help files, justifications and examples are critical if authors are to become more aware of and implement Web accessibility principles.
Most users are unfamiliar with accessibility issues on the Web.
By incorporating explanations of universal design benefits into
authoring tools, authors will better understand the value of
accessible page design.
- [Technique: 4.1.1] [Priority 1]
- The help system should explain the importance of utilizing
accessibility features generally and for specific instances.
- [Technique: 4.1.2] [Priority 1]
- Explanations should emphasize the Universal Design principle of
supporting flexible display and control choices, that are critical
- hands free, eyes-free, voice-activated browsing devices such as
- the large number of slow Web connections (not everyone has a
- Web users who prefer text-only browsing to avoid "image
- the aging population (with the accompanying decrease in visual,
hearing, motor, and cognitive abilities)
- the relatively high Web presence of people with sensory and
For more information on Universal Design, visit the Trace Center.
In addition to a help
section dedicated to accessibility, accessibility principles
should be followed for all applicable markup examples in
the rest of the help system. This will increase integration and
help show authors that accessibility is a normal part of authoring,
rather than a separate concern.
- [Technique: 4.2.1] [Priority 3]
- All markup practices that require accessible solutions should
appear with those solutions (ex. IMG elements should appear with
- [Technique: 4.2.2] [Priority 3]
- Lower priority accessibility solutions should also be included
to increase the wider acceptance of these standards.
Achieving accessibility requires some extra effort and
cooperation from the author. In order to maintain user goodwill
and acceptance of accessible authoring practices, the user should
receive progress feedback regarding satisfied accessibility
The Sample Implementations are not guidelines. The section has been included to illustrate how the design principles embodied in the guidelines sections can be applied to concrete issues. The specific ideas discussed in this section are meant to be used only as clarification.
"Alt"-text is generally considered the most important aid to
accessibility. For this reason, the issue of "alt"-text has
been chosen as the subject for the first sample implementation.
- 2.1 Generate standard markup [Priority 1]
- Implementation: In any content produced, the IMG
element is always properly formed as defined in the HTML4
specification. This means that the element contains both a "src"
attribute and an "alt" attribute.
- 2.2 Support all accessible content recommendations [Priority 1]
- Implementation: Due the
recommendation status of "alt"-text in the WAI Page Author
Guidelines, special attention will be devoted to prompting and
guiding the user toward full "alt" coverage.
- 2.3 Emphasize accessible authoring practices [Priority 1]
- Implementation: The "alt" attribute appears
immediately below the "src" attribute in the image properties
listing. Whenever the properties for an image without "alt"-text
are examined, visual highlighting of the "alt" entry field remind
the user that "alt"-text should not be left empty. In addition,
when an image without "alt"-text is selected, Insert
"alt"-text is one of the options presented to the user.
- 2.4 Identify all inaccessible markup [Priority 1]
- Implementation: If the user opens content or pastes in
markup containing an IMG element that lacks "alt"-text, the author
is prompted to add them (unless they have configured the tool to
postpone this task).
- 2.5 Provide mechanisms for authors to add missing alternative representations for the content of converted documents [Priority 1]
- Implementation: The authoring tool makes the task of
entering "alt"-text as easy as possible for the user. Specifically,
the authoring tool handles the markup syntax (as it does for other
attributes). In addition, an
"alt"-text registry is provided to store and retrieve the
"alt"-text previously used for a user's images.
- 2.6 Provide comprehensive accessibility help to authors [Priority 1]
- Implementation: Whenever missing "alt"-text is flagged
(anywhere in the tool suite) the same quick explanation, extended
help, and examples are offered.
- 2.7 Package multimedia files with pre-written descriptions [Priority 2]
- Implementation: The authoring tool is shipped with
many ready-to-use clip art and other images. For each of these
images a short "alt"-text string and a longer description have been
pre-written and stored in the
- 2.9 Integrate accessibility solutions into relevant automated tools and wizards [Priority 1]
- Implementation: The authoring tool includes an in-line
image editor that allows the user to manipulate images on their
page. If an IMG element does not include "alt"-text, then the user
prompted (unless they have postponed this task) to enter this text
as they click elsewhere in the document to close the editor.
- 2.10 Allow the user to check for and correct accessibility problems automatically [Priority 1]
- Implementation: An accessibility checker utility
scans the active document like a spell checker. If an
IMG element is found without "alt"-text, a prompt is displayed with
"alt"-text registry default text,
if it is available.
- 2.11 Ensure that all markup inserted by the authoring tool is accessible [Priority 1]
- Implementation: If the user drags an image from the
desktop into the authoring tool, the user will be prompted for
"alt"-text for the IMG element (unless the user has postponed this
- 2.12 Ensure that conversion tools produce and retain accessible markup and content [Priority 1]
- Implementation: The authoring tool has the capability
of opening and converting word processor documents into HTML. If an
image is encountered during this process, the user will be prompted
for "alt"-text. The authoring tool sometimes makes changes to the
HTML it works with to allow more efficient manipulation. These
changes never result in the removal or modification of
- 3.1 Ensure that users may configure accessibility mechanisms [Priority 1]
- Implementation: A configuration system allows the user
to decide whether they wish to be reminded each time they place an
IMG element without "alt"-text or if they will complete the
"alt"-text entry task at a later time. The configuration system
does not contain the option of disabling "alt"-text checking
completely. Other options allow the user to specify the behavior of
the "alt"-text registry.
- 3.2 Integrate accessibility solutions naturally [Priority 2]
- Implementation: At no point do "alt"-text requests
appear on their own or in a non-standard manner. Instead
"alt"-text notices and emphasis appear as integrated and necessary
as the "src" attribute.
- 4.1 Provide rationales that stress Universal Design [Priority 1]
- Implementation: In addition to describing the need for
"alt"-text for access by people with visual disabilities, the
rationales mention how "alt"-text allows users of Web phones and
other non-visual browsing technologies to access the content of the
- 4.2 Promote accessibility in all Help examples [Priority 3]
- Implementation: Whenever the IMG element appears in
the help system, the "alt" attribute is always present. Links to
"alt"-text specific help and rationale are provided.
- 4.3 Provide the author with progress feedback [Priority 3]
- Implementation: Whenever an accessibility checker
completes a run, a summary list of accessibility issues is
presented. When the user has entered "alt"-text for all the images
in a document, the "alt"-text completed box will be checked in the
summary. This box will remain checked as long as no images without
"alt"-text are added.
This tool does not have a visual window presence as far as the
user is concerned. It works by saving an association between every
"alt"-text label that a user writes with the name of the image,
applet, image map, or image map link. Then, whenever one of these
elements is inserted, the file name information of the object is
checked against the registry association file. If a match is found,
then the pre-written "alt" text is displayed as a default choice,
allowing users to avoid the repetition of writing multiple
descriptions for the same image. The ability to store several
descriptions in different languages might also be supported. In
more sophisticated implementations, the tool may include a
prediction algorithm that takes into account the recency of the
"alt"-text, name similarity, and target similarity when searching
for matches. This tool has the curb-cut advantage that the
descriptions (especially the professionally written ones that come
with bundled images) will allow users to search images using
keyword searches, thereby simplifying the task of finding
Interface mechanisms such as dialogs, menus, toolbars, and
palettes can be structured so that markup or elements that are
accessible are given as the first and easiest choice.
Prompts can be used to encourage authors to provide information
needed to make the content accessible (such as alternative textual
representations). Prompts are simple requests for information
before a markup structure has been finalized. For example, an
"alt"-text entry field prominently displayed in an image insertion
dialog would constitute a prompt. Prompts are relatively
unintrusive and address a problem before it has been committed.
However, once the user has ignored the prompt, its message is
Alerts warn the author that there are problems that need to be
addressed. The art of attracting users' attention is a tricky
issue. The way in which users are alerted, prompted, or warned will
influence their view of the tool as well as their opinion of
The following are sample alert possibilities with a short
definition and a brief discussion of their advantages and
- Interruptive Alerts
- Interruptive alerts are informative messages that interrupt the
edit process for the user. For example, interruptive alerts are
often presented when a user's action could cause a loss of data.
Interruptive alerts allow problems to be brought to the user's
attention immediately. However, users may resent the constant
delays and forced actions. Many people prefer to finish expressing
an idea before returning to edit its format.
- Unintrusive Alerts
- Unintrusive alerts are alerts such as icons, underlines, and
gentle sounds that can be presented to the user without
necessitating immediate action. for example, in some word
processors misspelled text is highlighted without forcing the user
to make immediate corrections. These alerts allow users to continue
editing with the knowledge that problems will be easy to identify
at a later time. However, users may become annoyed at the extra
formatting or may choose to ignore the alerts altogether.
- Authoring Tool
- An Authoring Tool is any application that is
specifically designed to aid users in editing markup and
presentation language documents. The editing processes covered by
this definition may range from direct hand coding (with automated
syntax support or other markup specific features) to WYSIWYG
editors that do not present the actual underlying markup to the
author for editing. This definition does not include text
editors and word processors that also allow HTML to be hand
- Conversion Tool
- A Conversion Tool is any application or application
feature that allows content in some other format (proprietary or
not) to be converted automatically into a particular markup
language. This includes software whose primary function is
to convert documents to a particular markup language as well as
"save as HTML" (or other markup language) features in non-markup
- Generation Tool
- A Generation Tool is a program or script that
produces automatic markup "on the fly" by following a template or
set of rules. The generation may be performed on either the server
or client side.
- Site Management
- A tool that provides an overview of an entire Web site
indicating hierarchical structure. It will facilitate management
through functions that may include automatic index creation,
automatic link updating, and broken link checking.
- Publishing Tool
- A tool that allows content to be uploaded in an integrated
fashion. Sometimes these tools makes changes such as local
hyper-reference modifications. Although these tools sometimes stand
alone, they may also be integrated into site management tools.
- Image Editor
- A graphics program that provides a variety of options for
altering images of different formats.
- Video Editor
- A tool that facilitates the process of manipulating video
images. Video editing includes cutting segments (trimming),
re-sequencing clips, and adding transitions and other special
- Software that facilitates integration of diverse media elements
into an comprehensive presentation format. May incorporate video,
audio, images, animations, simulations, and other interactive
Markup Insertion Function
- Automated markup insertion functions are the features of an
authoring tool that allow the user to produce markup without
directly typing it. This includes a wide range of tools from simple
markup insertion aids (such as a bold button on a toolbar) to
markup managers (such as table makers that include powerful tools
such as "split cells" that can make multiple changes) to high level
site building wizards that produce almost complete documents on the
basis of a series of user preferences.
- A document is a series of elements that are defined
by a language (e.g., HTML 4.0 or an XML application).
- Each element consists of a name that identifies the
type of element, optional attributes that take values, and
(possibly empty) content.
- Some attributes are integral to document
accessibility (e.g., the "alt", "title", and "longdesc" attributes
- Rendered Content
- The rendered content is that which an element
actually causes to be rendered by the user agent. This may differ
from the element's structural content. For example, some elements
cause external data to be rendered (e.g., the IMG element in HTML),
and in some cases, browsers may render the value of an attribute
(e.g., "alt", "title") in place of the element's content.
- The term accessibility awareness is used to describe an
application that has been designed to maximize the ease of use of
the interface and its products for people with differing needs,
abilities and technologies. In the case of authoring tools, this
means that (1) care has been taken to ensure that the content
produced by user-authors is accessible and (2) that the user
interface has been designed to be usable with a variety of display
and control technologies.
- Inaccessible Markup,
Inaccessible Element, Inaccessible Attribute, Inaccessible
Authoring Practice and Access Barrier
- All these terms are used in the context of inaccessibility as
defined by the WAI Page Author
- Accessibility Solution,
Accessible Authoring Practice
- These terms refer to markup techniques than can be used to
eliminate or reduce accessibility problems as they are defined
- Alternate Textual
- Certain types of content may not be accessible to all users
(e.g., images), so authoring tools must ensure that alternate textual representations
("Alt-text") of information is available to the user. Alternate
text can come from element content (e.g., the OBJECT element) or
attributes (e.g., "alt" or "title").
- Description Link
- A description link, or
D-Link, is an author-supplied link to additional
information about a piece of content that might otherwise be
difficult to access (image, applet, video, etc.).
- A transcript is a line by line record of all dialog and action
within a video or audio clip.
- Video Captions
- A video caption is a textual message that is stored in the text
track of a video file. The video caption describes the action and
dialog for the scene in which it is displayed.
- Inserting an element
- Inserting an element involves placing that element's
markup within the markup of the file. This applies to all
insertions, including, but not limited to, direct coding in a text
editing mode, choosing an automated insertion from a pull-down menu
or tool bar button, "drag-and-drop" style insertions, or "paste"
- Editing an element
- Editing an element involves making changes to one or
more of an element's attributes or properties. This applies to all
editing, including, but not limited to, direct coding in a text
editing mode, making changes to a property dialog or direct UI
- Prompts are simple requests for information before a markup
structure has been finalized.
- Interruptive alerts are informative messages that interrupt the
edit process for the user.
- Unintrusive Alerts
- Unintrusive alerts are alerts such as icons, underlines, and
gentle sounds that can be presented to the user without
necessitating immediate action.
- Alert Tools
- Alert tools allow a batch detection process to address all
problems at a given time.
- An authoring tool may offer several views of the
same document. For instance, one view may show raw markup, a second
may show a structured tree view, a third may show markup with
rendered objects while a final view shows an example of how the
document may appear if it were to be rendered by a particular
- A selection is a set of elements identified for a
particular operation. The user selection identifies a set of
elements for certain types of user interaction (e.g., cut, copy,
and paste operations). The user selection may be established by the
user (e.g., by a pointing device or the keyboard) or via an
accessibility API. A view may have several selections, but only one
- Current User
- When several views co-exist, each may have a user selection,
but only one is active, called the current user
selection. The selections may be rendered specially (e.g.,
- The focus designates the active element (e.g., link, form
control, element with associated scripts, etc.) in a view that will react
when the user next interacts with the document.
Many thanks to the following people who have contributed through
review and comment: Harvey Bingham, Judy Brewer, Carl Brown, Daniel
Dardailler, Phill Jenkins, William Loughborough, Charles
McCathieNevile, Charles Oppermann, and Gregg Vanderheiden.
If you have contributed to the AU guidelines and your
name does not appear please contact the editors to add your name to
- "HTML 4.0 Recommendation", D. Raggett, A. Le Hors, and I.
Jacobs, eds. The HTML 4.0 Recommendation is available at:
- "CSS, level 1 Recommendation", B. Bos, H. Wium Lie, eds. The
CSS1 Recommendation is available at:
- "CSS, level 2 Recommendation", B. Bos, H. Wium Lie, C. Lilley,
and I. Jacobs, eds. The CSS2 Recommendation is available at:
- "WAI Page Authoring Guidelines", G. Vanderheiden, W. Chisholm,
and I. Jacobs, eds. These guidelines for designing accessible
documents are available at:
- [Page Authoring
- "Techniques for WAI Page Authoring Guidelines", G.
Vanderheiden, W. Chisholm, and I. Jacobs, eds. These guidelines for
designing accessible documents are available at:
- "WAI Resources: CSS2 Accessibility Improvements", I. Jacobs and
J. Brewer, eds. This document, which describes accessibility
features in CSS2, is available at:
- "WAI Resources: HTML 4.0 Accessibility Improvements", I.
Jacobs, J. Brewer, and D. Dardailler, eds. This document, which
describes accessibility features in HTML 4.0, is available at:
- [Access Aware Authoring
- "The Three-tions of Accessibility-Aware HTML Authoring Tools",
J. Richards. Available at: