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IndieUI Overview

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This is an outdated draft. The published version is at

Use the IndieUI Overview Notes page for adding edit suggestions, comments, etc.

Example other intro pages: WAI-ARIA, WCAG

[Draft] Indie UI Overview

Page Contents


Independent User Interface (Indie UI) is a way for user actions to be communicated to web applications. Indie UI will make it easier for web applications to work in a wide range of contexts — different devices, different assistive technologies (AT), different user needs.

For example, if a user wants to scroll down a page, they might use their finger on a touch screen, or click a scroll bar with a mouse, or use a scroll wheel, or say "scroll down" with a voice command. Indie UI will define a way for those different interactions to be translated into a simple event - scroll down.

Indie UI will allow web application developers to get these events from different devices without having to recognize how the user performed the action. With Indie UI, AT will have a simple set of events to control web applications, and web application developers will have a uniform way to design applications that work for multiple devices and contexts.

The Indie UI Documents

Indie UI will include the following two technical specifications:

  • Indie UI: Events will map user input events to intended function.
    For example, a user scrolling a page is a series of touch events closely related in time and space. This can be complicated for web applications to process, particularly because the expected gestures vary by platform. Indie UI will allow the device to send a simple "scroll" event to the application, thus simplifying the work needed by the web application developer.
  • Indie UI: User Context will allow a web application to get information about the configuration, settings, and assistive technologies that the user is using. This will facilitate a web application optimizing for specific user needs. There are significant privacy and security issues that need to be resolved.

These are explained in more detail in the Current Work section of the Indie UI Working Group page.

Who develops Indie UI

The Indie UI technical documents are developed by the Independent User Interface Task Force, which is a joint task force of the Web Events Working Group and Independent User Interface Working Group (Indie UI WG). The Indie UI WG is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process: Milestones and Opportunities to Contribute describes formal periods for public review. To get announcements of opportunities for review and comment of WAI documents, see Getting WAI announcements. An email address for sending comments is included in the "Status of this Document" sections.

Opportunities for contributing to Indie UI and other WAI work are introduced in Participating in WAI.