[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 identify accessibility knowledge gaps and barriers in emerging and future web technologies. RDWG works within W3C and externally with the accessibility research community to identify strategies to address these gaps, with both near and long term strategies. This mission is complementary to W3C's work overall, and 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 October 2016
Confidentiality Proceedings are Public.
Initial Chairs Markku Hakkinen, Educational Testing Service
Vivienne Conway, Web Key IT
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 10%)
Shadi Abou-Zahra (5%)
Judy Brewer (5%)
Usual Meeting Schedule Regular teleconferences: weekly
Virtual symposia: 2 during charter period
Face-to-face: One annually


RDWG works within W3C to identify accessibility knowledge gaps which impact accessibility of W3C technologies, and to identify research findings, researchers, and research opportunities to inform and fill those gaps where possible. This first goal is complementary to the work of APA WG (previously PFWG), in that specific accessibility gaps identified in APA specification review without immediate technical solutions would shift to RDWG. A secondary goal is to identify potential accessibility barriers in emerging and future web technologies and develop a catalog of research topics and research questions to inform W3C members and the broader web research community of key areas requiring focus and resources to ensure accessibility. A tertiary goal is the incorporation of accessibility considerations into research on web technologies, including industry research, and research funded by governmental, technological and scientific funding agencies.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.

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. Research Topics Catalog: An annotated catalog of accessibility research topics maintained by RDWG members and 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, as well through dialog with other W3C Working Groups and through outreach via the WAI IG, and resources to related activities and projects. Some of these topics may be selected for further exploration through Virtual Research Symposia (described below).

  2. Virtual Research Symposia: Two symposia will be scheduled and utilize an efficient asynchronous model to encourage greater participation and interaction via online presentations and moderated discussion forums.  The symposia will explore specific research topics in depth that are of importance to emerging and future W3C technologies. Topics will be drawn for input obtained from WG members, the APA WG, other W3C working groups, and the broader research community, then 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: Concise synopsis, possibly as 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, presentations, and discussion. 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. Targeted Research Notes and Summaries: Accessibility knowledge gaps identified via discussion with APA and other W3C Working Groups may result in specific recommendations and guidance, based on relevant research findings identified by RDWG.  Such findings may be directly communicated to the relevant working group, or may warrant documentation in form of a WG Note, if more broadly relevant across other Working Groups.

  5. 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. The resource will also be useful to research organizations which wish to include accessibility considerations in their research programs, and to research funding agencies.


Deliverable 1: Research Topics Catalog

The Working Group plans to create and then update these resources at least semi-annually.

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

The Working Group plans to hold 2 online research symposia, including publication of the resulting research report. A condensed publishing format will be followed to expedite production and review.

Deliverable 4: Tips for Accessibility-Aware Research

The Working Group plans to develop this resource during the first year.

Deliverable 5: Research Notes and Summaries

The Working Group will produce guidance and summaries as required, resulting from discussion with APA WG and other W3C Working Groups.


W3C Groups

External Groups

Engage with research groups within W3C member organizations and other groups world wide 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 will 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: 2015/05/05 02:10:18 $ by $Author: jbrewer $