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Components of Web Accessibility

Version: Early Concept Draft 2004.08.12
Note: This document is an unapproved draft and should not be distributed, referenced, or quoted under any circumstances. This document is under development by the Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG), and will be offered to other W3C groups and the public for review. A change log lists revisions in progress and links to previous versions.


The purpose of this document is to briefly show how the components of Web accessibility relate and show how improvements in specific components could vastly improve the overall system of Web accessibility.

How the Components Relate


Whether or not a Web site is accessible to a person using the site ("user") is largely based on:

Users' knowledge, experiences, and in some cases adaptive strategies have a role in an accessible user experience.


The accessibility of the content is largely determined by:


@@ guidelines

WAI guidelines and W3C technical specifications (HTML, XML, CSS, SVG, SMIL, etc.) work together to inform accessible Web content and Web tools.


There are significant inter-dependencies between the components; that is, each component relies on other components to form an effective system.

For example, for alternative text on images:

When one component is weak

@@ image showing percentage of effort ???

When any one component does not work effectively, it complicates the system and results in poorer accessibility. In some cases, the other components can compensate some; however, that usually involves much more effort and "work arounds" which are not good for accessibility in the big picture.

Currently the burden of developing accessible content is heavy on developers and thus requires a high level of developer knowledge, skill, and effort. Better authoring tools could lower the burden on developers, and increase the accessibility of content.

Getting implementation in the cycle

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One of the reasons that some accessibility features are not effectively implemented throughout the system is that there is little motivation for one component to implement a feature when it is not implemented well in the other components.

With authoring tool and user agent implementation:

If user agents better supported a given accessibility feature, developers would be more inclined to want to implement it and demand that their authoring tool make it easy to implement.

Related Pages

Introduction to Web Accessibility provides additional information about Web Accessibility.

Document Information

Editor: Shawn Lawton Henry. This Web page is is under development by the EOWG.

Last updated $Date: 2004/08/13 22:16:11 $ by $Author: shawn $

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