[Draft] Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) Charter

The mission of the Research and Development Working Group (RDWG), part of the WAI International Program Office Activity, is to increase the incorporation of accessibility considerations into research on web technologies, and to identify projects researching web accessibility and suggest research directions that may contribute to new projects. The desired outcome of more research in web accessibility and awareness of accessibility in mainstream web-related research should decrease the number of potential barriers in future web-related technologies. This mission is complementary to the work of other Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) groups within the WAI Technical Activity and the WAI International Program Office Activity.

Join the Research and Development Working Group.

End date 31 December 2017
Confidentiality Proceedings are Public.
Initial Chairs Markku Hakkinen, Educational Testing Service
Vivienne Conway, Web Key IT
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 15%)
Shadi Abou-Zahra
Usual Meeting Schedule Regular teleconferences: weekly
Teleconference symposia: 3 times per year
Face-to-face: None to twice annually


RDWG's scope of work includes:

Consistent with W3C Process requirements on Task Forces, the RDWG may form task forces composed of RDWG participants or join other W3C task forces to carry out assignments when under the chartered scope of RDWG. Any such task force must have a work statement (including objectives, communication, participation, and leadership) that has been announced on the RDWG mailing list, approved by the RDWG, and is available from the RDWG home page. RDWG task forces should produce requirements documents that outline the scope and expectations for work. Task forces may set up separate teleconferences and hold face-to-face meetings per the W3C process and with the approval of the RDWG.

Success Criteria


  1. Catalog of Research Topics: An annotated catalog of accessibility research and development topics based on the items gathered in the Catalog Topics Wiki. This includes topics with short-, medium-, and long-term perspectives, and covering different web-related technologies and application domains. Catalog items will include descriptions of the topics, research questions identified by the group, and resources to related activities and projects. Some of these topics will be selected for further exploration through Online Research Symposia (described below).
  2. Online Research Symposia: Two- or three-hour online symposia, scheduled approximately 3 times per year, to explore given research and development topics in depth. Topics will be nominated, selected and prepared by RDWG participants in good standing. Materials will be available at least one week in advance of the symposia. The Research Symposia page lists current and previous online research symposia carried out by the group. Potential future topics include web accessibility aspects of:
    • cognitive disabilities
    • virtual reality on the Web
    • social media and networking
    • online education and training
    • digital publishing and broadcasting
    • telemedicine and telecare
    • augmented reality
    • digital rights management
    • web accessibility in less developed regions
    • internationalization
  3. Symposium Research Reports: Written synopsis, as W3C Working Group Notes, of discussion with links to the material generated for the symposium such as a reading list, key research projects for the topic, and audio and text transcripts. Published symposium reports are linked from the Research Symposia page. This page also links to the individual symposia pages that include all symposia resources, including symposia report drafts in development.
  4. Tips for Accessibility-Aware Research: Start-up tips and basic guidance for researchers for incorporating accessibility considerations into their research designs, based on an initial concept outline, to be published as an online resource after further development and review by the group.


Deliverable 1: Catalog of Research Topics

The Working Group plans to create and then update these resources at least semi-annually (at month 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36).

Deliverables 2 & 3: Online Research Symposia and Symposium Research Reports

The Working Group plans to hold 3 online research symposia per year, each with a 12-months cycle to completion including publication of the resulting research report. Expected milestones include:

  • Initiating an Online Research Symposium every four months (at months 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, and 23)
  • Completing Symposium Research Reports every four months (at months 15, 19, 23, 27, 31, and 35)
Deliverable 4: Tips for Accessibility-Aware Research

The Working Group plans to develop this resource during the first year (at month 12), with annual updates (at months 24 and 36) if needed.


W3C Groups

External Groups

Coordinate with other groups worldwide who perform research and development or who coordinate research and development in their geographical region or topic area.


To be successful, RDWG is expected to have 10 or more active participants for its duration. Effective participation in the RDWG is expected to consume 4 hours per week for each participant.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


This group participates in the WAI Coordination Group (WAI CG). In the event that Coordination Groups are discontinued under W3C Process, it will continue to coordinate directly with other WAI groups.

This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing list public-wai-rd@w3.org (archive).

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Research and Development Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

Patent Disclosures

The WAI Research and Development Working Group provides an opportunity to share perspectives on research to advance accessibility. This Working Group is not chartered to produce Recommendations with associated licensing obligations as described by the W3C Patent Policy. W3C reminds Working Group participants of their obligation to comply with patent disclosure obligations as set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy. While this Working Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, when Working Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from other Working Groups, the patent disclosure obligations do apply.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

RDWG was originally chartered as an Interest Group in 2001 and 2005, and was rechartered as a Working Group in 2010. This charter represents a continuation of the work done under the previous charters: charter of June 2001, charter of January 2005, and previous charter of July 2010.

This charter for RDWG has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Primary changes in this charter include:

$Date: 2015-02-10 15:07:41 $ by $Author: shadi $