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Web Design and Applications

"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."

-- Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

[DRAFT] Accessibility [latest version]

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. As Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web says, “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” But accessibility is not a given. It requires work. W3C works with the community, through the Web Accessibility Initiative, to enable Web accessibility by integrating it into Web standards, and encouraging adoption of good design practices.

W3C is committed to making the Web more accessible. Part of this effort focuses on creating guidelines and incoporating accessibility into all Recommendations and other Web documents it produces. Another important aspect of W3C's work is by example, as we strive to make our own web site an example of good practice. [encouarges readers to make their website accessible:] We hope you will follow our example by making your own webiste accessible and [encourages action:] spreading the word to others.

W3C encourages stakeholders to take part in WAI's work...

(complete example, HTML & CSS).

Learn more below about:

What is Web Accessibility?

(Note: Material taken from Introduction to Web Accessibility).

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging.

Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. The document "How People with Disabilities Use the Web" describes how different disabilities affect Web use and includes scenarios of people with disabilities using the Web.

Millions of people have disabilities that affect their use of the Web. Currently most Web sites and Web software have accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for many people with disabilities to use the Web. As more accessible Web sites and software become available, people with disabilities are able to use and contribute to the Web more effectively.

Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. For example, a key principle of Web accessibility is designing Web sites and software that are flexible to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This flexibility also benefits people without disabilities in certain situations, such as people using a slow Internet connection, people with "temporary disabilities" such as a broken arm, and people with changing abilities due to aging. The document "Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization" describes many different benefits of Web accessibility, including benefits for organizations.

The Web Accessibility Initiative

(Note: Material taken from About WAI).

WAI develops...

  • guidelines widely regarded as the international standard for Web accessibility
  • support materials to help understand and implement Web accessibility
  • resources, through international collaboration

WAI welcomes...

  • participation from around the world
  • volunteers to review, implement, and promote guidelines
  • dedicated participants in working groups

The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) commitment to lead the Web to its full potential includes promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops its work through W3C's consensus-based process, involving different stakeholders in Web accessibility. These include industry, disability organizations, government, accessibility research organizations, and more.

WAI, in partnership with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary activities:

  • ensuring that core technologies of the Web support accessibility
  • developing guidelines for Web content, user agents, and authoring tools
  • facilitating development of evaluation and repair tools for accessibility
  • conducting education and outreach
  • coordinating with research and development that can affect future accessibility of the Web

Learn More

For more information about making web sites accessible, you may like to start with our brief Introduction to Web Accessibility

Current Status of Specifications

Learn more about the current status of specifications related to:

These W3C Groups are working on the related specifications: