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WAI: Strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities

Protocols and Formats Working Group (PFWG, soon to be renamed Accessible Platform Architectures) Public Page

Page Contents

Announcements

5 January 2015: The Protocols and Formats Working Group is planning to change its name to Accessible Platform Architectures (APA), to more clearly reflect its scope. Working group URIs and mailing lists are expected to change at that time.

7 November 2014: The SVG Accessibility Task Force is now active.

11 December 2014: Working Draft of Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.1. Comments should be made by 30 January 2015.

11 December 2014: Working Draft of Core Accessibility API Mappings 1.1. Comments should be made by 30 January 2015.

11 December 2014: Working Draft of Accessible Name and Description: Computation and API Mappings 1.1. Comments should be made by 30 January 2015.

4 December 2014: Proposed Recommendation of HTML5 Image Description Extension (longdesc).

26 September 2014: A Digital Publishing Accessibility Task Force is in formation.

Comments are accepted at any time even if the formal comment period has expired. Comments received on a draft that is about to be republished may be treated as comments on the subsequent draft.

Meetings

Teleconferences

General business teleconferences are held from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Boston time, each Wednesday. Other task forces and sub-groups meet at various times during the week; see information on the specific task force for more specific information.

Teleconferences are conducted via WebEx. You may join using computer audio or request a dialout to a phone number of your choice using the Protocols and Formats Meeting online, entering the password sent in the agenda. If you need to dial into the phone service, dial +1-617-324-0000 and enter passcode 647 857 439 (autodial: +1-617-324-0000,,,647857439#).

Task forces use different meeting codes. See the task forces below for specific information.

Teleconferences do not use other WebEx features for note taking; instead, it uses IRC. The server is irc.w3.org channel #pf. If you encounter problems with a corporate firewall, you may point a Web browser to irc.w3.org for Web interface. See the IRC Project pages for more on this service.

Information on the various robots used in IRC to faciliate the calls is available from the teleconference cheat sheet.

Face to Face meetings

The PFWG holds face-to-face meetings in various locations as needed. Information about upcoming and past meetings is in the PFWG Meetings page. In the past, PFWG meetings were held in W3C Member space; information about those meetings is available in the PFWG Group Meetings page.

Current Work

Public Working Drafts under review

Follow the instructions for commenting page to submit comments. Submit comments online (preferred) or by email to to public-pfwg-comments@w3.org (Archive). Comments are accepted at any time even if the formal comment period has expired. Comments received on a draft that is about to be republished may be treated as comments on the subsequent draft.

Technology Review

W3C invites public comment on the Working Drafts in Last Call. The WAI and the Protocols and Formats Working Group invite anyone who perceives an access problem with these drafts to comment. Submit your comments as directed in the individual drafts; the email addresses vary from document to document.

The Working Group reviews new Community Groups to look for new technologies that impact accessibility and maintains a list of community groups it tracks.

Technical Specifications

Please note that Editors' Drafts:

Edits to documents are posted regularly to the publicly visible editors' draft. People interested in following the work can subscribe to the public-pfwg-cvs mailing list to receive notification when changes are checked in. Techniques and examples of how to apply these technologies to create rich internet applications are discussed on the wai-xtech mailing list. See participation for how to follow or get involved in this work.

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1

WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.

The work has been divided into a series of modules and related documents.  The current editor's working drafts of these are:

Requirements for Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.1 (public editor's draft)
This roadmap that describes the problem, what W3C specifications will be used to correct the problem, and the timeline for the new specifications. See also the Public Working Draft of the Requirements for Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.1.
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1 (public editor's draft)
This specification provides an ontology of roles, states, and properties that set out an abstract model for accessible interfaces and can be used to improve the accessibility and interoperability of Web Content and Applications. This information can be mapped to accessibility frameworks that use this information to provide alternative access solutions. Similarly, this information can be used to change the rendering of content dynamically using different style sheet properties. The result is an interoperable method for associating behaviors with document-level markup. See also the Public version of WAI-ARIA 1.1.
Core Accessibility API Mappings 1.1 (public editor's draft)
Describes how user agents should map WAI-ARIA features to platform accessibility APIs. Other Accessibility API Mappings specifications depend on and extend this Core specification for specific technologies, including native techology features and WAI-ARIA extensions. See also the Public Working Draft of the Core Accessibility API Mappings.
Accessible Name and Description: Computation and API Mappings 1.1 (public editor's draft)
Describes how user agents determine names and descriptions of accessible objects from web content languages and expose them in accessibility APIs. See also the Public Working Draft of the Accessible Name and Description: Computation and API Mappings 1.1.
HTML Accessibility API Mappings 1.1 (public editor's draft)
This document describes how user agents map HTML5.1 [[!HTML51]] elements and attributes to platform accessibility API roles, states and properties on a variety of platforms, based on the Core Accessibility API Mappings [[!CORE-AAM]] specification for user agents. This document is designed to leverage these core mappings for the HTML5.1 host language.
SVG Accessibility API Mappings 1.1 (public editor's draft)
This document describes how user agents maps SVG2 markup to platform accessibility APIs based on the Core Accessibility API Mappings [CAAM] specification for user agents.
Digital Publishing Accessibility API Mappings 1.1 (public editor's draft)
This document describes how user agents maps digital publishing markup to platform accessibility APIs based on the Core Accessibility API Mappings [CAAM] specification for user agents.
WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices 1.1 (public editor's draft)
Provides recommended approaches to create accessible Web content using WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties to make widgets, navigation, and behaviors accessible. Also describes considerations that might not be evident to most implementors from the WAI-ARIA specification alone.

Formal Public Working Drafts of these documents can be found from the WAI-ARIA Overview Page.

Editors' sources for the above specifications are maintained in the W3C ARIA GitHub repository. GitHub users can watch this repository and send pull requests.

Media Accessibility User Requirements

Media Accessibility User Requiremenst (public editors' draft) aggregates the requirements of an accessibility user that the W3C HTML5 Accessibility Task Force has collected with respect to audio and video on the Web. See also the Public Working Draft of Media Accessibility User Requirements.

Editors' sources for the above specification is maintained in the W3C PFWG GitHub repository. GitHub users can watch this repository and send pull requests.

Task Forces

WAI-ARIA Task Force

This task force develops the WAI-ARIA technology. Currently we are processing comments received on the latest ARIA Working Draft. ARIA issues are tracked in the PFWG public comments tracker. The section on WAI-ARIA has further information about how to follow this work.

Teleconferences are Thursdays at 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm Boston time using the ARIA Task Force Meeting. If you need to dial into the phone service, dial +1-617-324-0000 and enter passcode 640 582 571 (autodial: +1-617-324-0000,,,640582571#). The IRC channel is irc.w3.org channel #aria.

WAI-ARIA User Agent Implementation Task Force

The publicly visible User Agent Implementation Task Force is a joint task force of the PFWG and the HTML Working Group (HTML WG). The objective of UAI TF is to develop guidelines for interoperable user agent implementation of the WAI-ARIA specification. Discussion and meeting information is posted to the WAI-XTech mailing list with the subject prefix "aapi". The section on WAI-ARIA has further information about how to follow this work.

Teleconferences are Tuesdays at 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm Boston time using the Accessibility API Mappings Meeting. If you need to dial into the phone service, dial +1-617-324-0000 and enter passcode 641 707 405 (autodial: +1-617-324-0000,,,641707405#). The IRC channel is irc.w3.org channel #aapi.

HTML Accessibility Task Force

The HTML Accessibility Task Force is a joint task force of the PFWG and the HTML Working Group (HTML WG). The objective of this task force is to review accessibility considerations for HTML 5. The work of this task force is mainly tracked in the HTML Accessibility Task Force wiki. The task force currently has a number of sub-groups focusing on Accessibility API Mapping ARIA integration, bug triage, canvas, media, and Text Alternatives.

Teleconferences are Thursdays at 11:00 am to 12:00 pm Boston time. The IRC channel is irc.w3.org channel #html-a11y.

Specification Accessibility Task Force

The Specification Accessibility Task Force assists the Working Group with accessibility review of W3C specifications. Currently this work is done by the working group as a whole.

Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force

The Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force will develop draft proposed guidance and techniques to make web content, content authoring, and user agent implementation accessible and more useable by people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

Teleconferences are Mondays at 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Boston time using the Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force Meeting. If you need to dial into the phone service, dial +1-617-324-0000 and enter passcode 649 368 070 (autodial: +1-617-324-0000,,,649368070#). The IRC channel is irc.w3.org channel #aria.

SVG Accessibility Task Force

The SVG Accessibility Task Force will identify the accessibility requirements and manage the progress of accessibility solutions in SVG2, while expanding participation and fostering collaboration among experts in SVG and Web Accessibility as a means to meet the requirements and goals of each group and to increase mutual understanding.

Teleconferences are Fridays at 9:00 am to 10:00 am Boston time. The IRC channel is irc.w3.org channel #svg-a11y.

Digital Publishing Accessibility Task Force

The Digital Publishing Accessibility Task Force will compare existing vocabularies, including IDPF's EPUB Structural Semantic Vocabulary and ARIA Roles to create a recommended list of digital publishing terms allowing for clear interaction with assistive technolgies, easy reusability. and native validation.

ARIA Authoring Practices sub-group

The ARIA Authoring Practices sub-group is not a task force, but a sub-group of the ARIA Task Force, above. However, it conducts separate teleconferences. Teleconferences are Mondays at 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm Boston time using the ARIA Authoring Practices Meeting. If you need to dial into the phone service, dial +1-617-324-0000 and enter passcode 646 444 732 (autodial: +1-617-324-0000,,,646444732#). The IRC channel is irc.w3.org channel #aria-apg.

Publications

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0

WAI-ARIA 1.0 has been completed.

The work has been divided into five documents.  The following documents are W3C Recommendations:

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
This specification provides an ontology of roles, states, and properties that set out an abstract model for accessible interfaces and can be used to improve the accessibility and interoperability of Web Content and Applications. This information can be mapped to accessibility frameworks that use this information to provide alternative access solutions. Similarly, this information can be used to change the rendering of content dynamically using different style sheet properties. The result is an interoperable method for associating behaviors with document-level markup.
WAI-ARIA User Agent Implementation Guide
Describes how user agents should map WAI-ARIA features to platform accessibility APIs.

The following documents were developed for WAI-ARIA 1.0 but have not been, and are not expected to be, finalized.

Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA Roadmap)
This roadmap that describes the problem, what W3C specifications will be used to correct the problem, and the timeline for the new specifications.
WAI-ARIA Primer
Explains the accessibility problems posed by hybrid technologies such as DHTML and AJAX and introduces the technologies to map controls, AJAX live regions, and events to accessibility APIs. Also describes new navigation techniques to mark common Web elements such as menus, primary content, secondary content, banner information and other types of Web structures.
WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices
Provides recommended approaches to create accessible Web content using WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties to make widgets, navigation, and behaviors accessible. Also describes considerations that might not be evident to most implementors from the WAI-ARIA specification alone.

Role Attribute

Role Attribute 1.0 is a W3C Recommendation.

The Role Attribute allows the author to annotate markup languages with machine-extractable semantic information about the purpose of an element. Use cases include accessibility, device adaptation, server-side processing, and complex data description. This attribute can be integrated into any markup language. The role attribute is necessary to support WAI-ARIA to define roles in XML-based languages, when the languages do not define their own role attribute.

Other publications

In addition to the work underway above, the PFWG has been responsible in the past for the incorporation of a number of the accessibility improvements introduced into W3C formats from HTML 4.0 onward including CSS, SMIL, SVG and VoiceXML. Some specific publications developed in service of this work:

Inaccessibility of Visually-Oriented Anti-Robot Tests: Problems and Alternatives
This paper evaluates the accessibility problems with CAPTCHA, a visual verification system popular on many Web sites, and evaluates a number of more-accessible alternatives to the same problems CAPTCHA claims to solve.
Natural Language Usage -- Issues and Strategies for Universal Access to Information
This paper suggests a possible implementation of a language annotation system to clarify meaning in potentially ambiguous terms.
XML Accessibility Guidelines
The discussions for XAG take place on the public wai-xtech list. This specification is developed by the Working Group.
Some of these are are discussed in the following education notes:

About the PFWG

Contacts

Activities

The PFWG looks at the formal Web technologies (protocols, formats, etc.) from an accessibility perspective. Best practices for using these technologies are addressed by other WAI groups, producing guidelines explaining how to use the technologies.

The principal output of this working group is feedback to other W3C working groups developing specification, on how to ensure that their work can allow for accessibility. This does not generally create deliverables in the form of W3C publications.

In particular, the group tries to review at least every Last Call working draft.

The PFWG also works on the XML Accessibility Guidelines (XAG).

Charter

The charter of the working group outlines the goals, work methods, and requirements for participation. It also explains why the working drafts and email archives of this group are in the members-only area. This activity is conducted by the W3C as part of its Web Accessibility Initiative

Participation

The participation page provides details about how to join the group.

To follow the work of the WG without joining, the following resources are available:

Mailing Lists

Anyone can join the wai-xtech list or post to the wai-xtech mailing list without joining. Follow Instructions for subscribing to the PFWG mailing lists; in short, send mail to wai-xtech@w3.org to post or subscribe by sending mail to wai-xtech-request@w3.org with the subject "subscribe".

Some areas of related work

Protocols and Formats

On the growing edge of the Web we find Protocols and Formats such as:

Other WAI Groups

Most accessibility issues involve cooperative work between the PFWG and its sister groups within the WAI, particularly

Patent Disclosures

W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent.

Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net> - Chair, PFWG
Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org> - Staff Contact