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

This is archive of the HTML Accessibility Task Force (HTML Accessibility TF) Work Statement, which was replaced on 1 November, 2013 by the version found at the following URL: http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/html-task-force.

HTML Accessibility Task Force Work Statement

HTML Accessibility Task Force is a joint task force of the Protocols and Formats Working Group (PFWG) and the HTML Working Group (HTML WG). It assists these Working Groups with the work identified below.


This work statement has been accepted by the PFWG and the HTML WG. The task force is active.


The objective of HTML Accessibility Task Force is to help ensure that HTML 5 provides features to enable Web content to be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes review of existing features for potential accessibility problems, and proposal of new features where needed.

Scope of Work

The task force combines participation from the PFWG and the HTML WG. Accessibility specialists from the PFWG provide input on accessibility needs and solutions. Architects from the HTML WG provide input on architectural goals and non-accessibility considerations.

Accordingly, the HTML Accessibility Task Force operates under the PFWG charter and the HTML WG charter.

The task force provides a forum for identification and discussion of accessibility issues in HTML, such as (though not limited to) well integrated support for WAI-ARIA, accessibility of canvas, accessibility of video, ensuring an accesskey replacement that is semantically rich and applicable to mobile devices, preservation of backward compatibility where critical either technically or strategically, and implementable in all browsers without preference to a single platform.

Ideally, this process results in various edits to the HTML specification. When needed, the task force may draft formal communications, although the actual communication process is relegated to the sponsoring Working Group(s). To improve general understanding of the issues involved, the task force may produce issue analyses, but these are not formal publications.

As part of the above, the task force expects to participate in the following deliverables of the sponsoring Working Groups:

The task force is a key forum for helping to achieve consensus between the PFWG and the HTML WG. The Task Force does not, however, represent consensus of either of those Working Groups. All output of the Task Force should be considered as proposals, subject to vetting and modification by the WG receiving the proposal. Only once formal consensus of the WG is given does the deliverable satisfy charter requirements of the WG.

The task force may also create specifications that extend deliverables of the HTML Working Group, in the area of accessibility. The Accessibility Task Force will have decision authority over the contents of such extension specifications. Any such specifications will be considered jointly produced by the HTML Working Group and PFWG, for purposes of W3C Publication. This means that, as with any w3c joint task force deliverable, both Working Groups must approve transitions such as First Public Working Draft or Last Call. It also means that documents will create Patent Policy obligations in both groups. Members of either Working Group who have substantive comments or objections on Task Force publications are expected to raise them in the context of the Task Force.

Work approach

HTML Accessibility Task Force communications are publicly visible. Communication mechanisms for HTML Accessibility Task Force include:

  1. E-mail discussion takes place on the Task Force's, W3C public-html-a11y list (public-html-a11y archive).
  2. Weekly (or more frequently, as needed) teleconferences; minutes from the teleconferences are sent to the mailing list.
  3. Discussion in IRC irc.w3.org:6665 channel #html-a11y. IRC will be utilized for taking minutes during Task Force teleconferences and will not be utilized as a primary discussion channel during teleconferences.
  4. Monthly (or more frequently, as needed) updates and feedback in PFWG and HTML WG teleconferences, as appropriate. Task Force Facilitators are primarily responsible for this liaison purpose.
  5. Issues are tracked in Bugzilla. Issues should be tagged with the keyword "a11ytf".
  6. Some documents are available from the HTML ESW wiki, PF ESW wiki, and the PF wiki. Relevant documents in the PF wiki are tagged with the category "HTML5". @@Separate wiki to be set up and some content migrated
  7. The task force occasionally conducts Web-based surveys to poll group opinion.
  8. Task Force Facilitators MAY form subteams (composed of Task Force participants) to carry out assignments for the Task Force. The scope of these assignments will NOT exceed the scope defined herein for this Task Force. The Task Force will document the process it uses to create subteams (e.g., each subteam might have an informal "Work Statement").
  9. The first task of the Accessibility Task Force will be to draft its initial work plan.


Any member of either the PFWG or the HTML WG may participate in the HTML Accessibility Task Force. However, all HTML Accessibility Task Force participants must become members of the HTML WG and accept the W3C's Patent Policy for the HTML WG as HTML WG members. Any work the Task Force may perform to accomodate WAI-ARIA within HTML 5 is thus covered.

Should it appear at any point that the work of the TF may directly impact the design of WAI-ARIA, then all participants of this Joint Task Force will also be required to agree to the W3C Patent Policy for PFWG as PFWG members. This is stated only as a contingency, and is not expected to occur.

Participants must actively contribute to the work of HTML Accessibility Task Force, including:

  1. 6 to 8 hours per month of HTML Accessibility Task Force work;
  2. Remain current on the HTML Accessibility Task Force mailing list and respond in a timely manner to postings;
  3. Participate in HTML Accessibility Task Force telephone meetings, or send regrets to the HTML Accessibility Task Force mailing list.

Contact Mark Sadecki to become a participant of HTML Accessibility Task Force or with questions.

Members of the public who are not covered by the W3C Patent Policy can send input to the public-pfwg-comments mailing list [public-pfwg-comments archive], or the public-html-comments mailing list [public-html-comments archive]. Messages should clearly indicate the deliverable to which they are related and that they are relevant to the work of the HTML Accessibility Task Force.


Staff contacts from the respective WGs oversee attention to W3C Process with respect to the chartered requirements of the respective WGs. The Facilitators set agenda, lead meetings, determine consensus, and are the primary liaison to the WGs.


The task force participants list is maintained in the W3C group database.