Editors Draft: $Date: 2009/08/14 18:22:56 $
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[Draft $Date: 2009/08/14 18:22:56 $ latest version. analysis & changelog]


“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

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. In practice it is about ensuring that content producers, tool designers and browser vendors work together to make this happen. [ed: what more can we say here without repeating "What is Web Accessibility?" below?].

[ed: completed examples, HTML & CSS and Internationalization].

Learn more below about:

What is Web Accessibility?

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

[need to put the positive benefits first, maybe examples from How People with Disabilities Use the Web]: The Web is an important enabling technology for people with disabilities. Examples:

  • [Something to grab the attention of newbies like]: Yes, blind people really can read web pages
  • People can not see can use voice software to listen to Web pages
  • People with reduced mobility can access information from around the world without leaving home
  • People with [disabilities...] can publish on the Web and make their voices heard

But accessibility does not just happen by itself. It requires some skill and work both for users and content creators. W3C works with the community, through the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), to enable Web accessibility by integrating it into Web standards, and encouraging adoption of good design practices.

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 or pay-as-you go Internet connection, those with mobile devices, 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.

[ed: Material taken from Introduction to Web Accessibility; may be more there].

Web Accessibility at W3C

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. 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.

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.

[ed: Material taken from About WAI].

What you can do

[ed: encouarge readers to make their website accessible, encourages action] We hope you will follow our example by making your own website accessible and spreading the word to others. Study WAI resources. Participate.

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: