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Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) Overview

Version: Rough Draft 2004.07.16
Note: This Web page is a working draft and should not be referenced or quoted under any circumstances.

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ATAG links

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG)

"The Web, and the world, thrive on information which is accessible to all. [Authoring] tools built using these guidelines will make this much easier."

Tim Berners-Lee, Director, W3C

ATAG instructs developers of Web authoring tools on steps to take to increase the accessibility of their interfaces and the content they output.

Web content is produced by many different types of programs. ATAG can be applied to a wide range of these tools, including:

Tools that conform to ATAG 1.0 enable authors to produce content that conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, currently in use by government bodies and organizations around the world.

ATAG was made a W3C Recommendation on February 3, 2000, and received testimonials on its behalf from authoring tool developers and disability groups.

ATAG is part of a series of accessibility guidelines, including the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Components of Web Accessibility explains the relationship between the different guidelines.

Who ATAG is for

Developers of browsers and media players, and developers of assistive technology (including screen readers and on-screen keyboards), should integrate ATAG in their applications to benefit users with visual, auditory, motor and cognitive disabilities.

How to use ATAG

If you are a developer of an authoring tool, read the guidelines and techniques documents. These documents set out the requirements to conform to ATAG at any of three different levels.

If you are a user of these tools, and have a disability that makes it difficult to use them, contact the makers of these tools and direct them to this Recommendation.

What is in ATAG 1.0

The guidelines contain 28 checkpoints which direct authoring tool developers on meeting several needs of users with disabilities:

  1. Creating authoring practices that result in more accessible content;
  2. Valid, standards-based output;
  3. User prompts for accessibility-related metadata;
  4. Simple, well-integrated tools for finding and repairing accessibility problems in Web content;
  5. Documentation explaining how to use the tool accessibly;
  6. A user interface that is itself accessible to users with disabilities

Technical document format

ATAG 1.0 and 2.0 and their techniques documents follow the W3C format for technical specifications which includes at the beginning: version links, editors, copyright, abstract, status, and table of contents. Most WAI specifications have a link at the top to the Table of Contents.

ATAG Versions: 1.0 and 2.0

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 was approved in February 2000 and is the current stable reference version.

ATAG 2.0 is being developed to be compatible with WCAG 2.0, which is under development, and WCAG 1.0, which is already a W3C Recommendation. Because of the nature of the W3C specification development process [@@would like to link to overview of process!], we cannot be certain when the final version of ATAG 2.0 will be [@@ approved]. We anticipate ATAG 2.0 will be [@@ completed] in [@@ period]. Therefore, ATAG 1.0 will remain [@@ the latest approved version at least into the beginning of 2005].

Who develops ATAG

ATAG 1.0 was produced by the Authoring Tools Working Group of the Web Accessibility Initiative at the W3C. The group consists of several companies developing authoring tools, and invited experts in the field of Web accessibility.