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WAI-TIDE (DE 4105)- Annual Project Review Report

This document provides information about the WAI-TIDE project as of August 1998.

   Daniel Dardailler (danield@w3.org)

Table of Contents


Part A: - Synopsis of work undertaken

Part B: - Future plans


  1. A. Partner informations
  2. B. WAI Education&Outreach Detailed Deliverables List
  3. C. WAI Resource: HTML 4.0 Accessibility Improvements
  4. D. WAI Presentation Slide Set
  5. E. Prototype PICS Accessibility Rating System
  6. F. WAI Evaluation&Repair Interest Group Charter
  7. G. Standardization Work Package Detailed Report
  8. H. Project Proposal Correspondance



A. Assessment of work done during the reporting period

During the first half of 1998, the WAI-TIDE project and the W3C-WAI have achieved a lot.

After a ramping-up period and initial European partners meeting, we've made good progress is all 4 work-packages (WP01 is Management) : Education&Outreach (WP02), Rating&Certification (WP03), Standardization (WP04) and User Forum (WP05).

Our User Discussion Forum (WP05) is very active, even in W3C terms (350+ persons registered, 100+ messages/month traffic) and the topics discussed are all relevant.

In June 1998, we've asked for a change in the starting and end-date of the Education work package (WP02), moving them 3 months ahead (no change in duration) so that we can better accomodate the necessary planning phase that occured in the first 6 months, and some potential events we want to hold beginning of 1999.

Since this change still keeps this work package within the limit (18 months) of the overall project, this was not an issue and was ratified immediately by the Commission.

This WAI Education and Outreach Working Group has spent a lot of resource on planning and coordinating a variety of deliverables to promote awareness of accessibility and to provide education on accessible design. Planned deliverables include: technical FAQ's; slide-set curriculum modules with presentation notes; demonstrations of accessible/inaccessible design; sample implementations of accessibility improvements in HTML and CSS; hard-copy promotional materials; a business case for accessibility and universal design; training events; a portable interactive Web site on accessibility; etc. Many of these deliverables are already under development and will become available in the next several months.

The Rating&Certification work package (WP03) was a little slow to start due to the integration of this activity in the larger W3C WAI group working on Evaluation&Repair tools, but with no impact on the original schedule and we except the quality of the deliverable to be much better as a result.

Standardization is proceeding as planned.

B. Current project status

As August 98


Comments, problems with deadlines

Work packages on/before target


Work packages delayed

2 shifted 3 months ahead

Deliverables submitted in reporting period

1 Interim Project Review

Deliverables acknowledged by DG XIII


Late deliverables - for reporting period

1 This Report (due month 6, delivered month 8)

C. Work done

Are project objectives being met?

Grade from 0 (not at all) to 4 (totally)


Considering the new dates for WP02

Is work done within the project budget?


Major achievements within reporting period

Started User Forum, Planning & Data Collection

Details of expected end-products (ref .......)




Educational Materials

multiple See deliverable list in Annex


multiple See Report in Annex

Accessibility Evaluation Tools

Rating System Part of WAI ER tool group

D. Outline proposed changes to plan


E. Expectations for Implementation and/or Exploitation

See details for each workpackage in Part A and Annexes.

F. Commission Services observations

(to be completed by the Project Officer)

Commission Project Officer ....................... Signed ........................... Date...........................

Part A: - Synopsis of work undertaken

Objectives of the project

WAI-TIDE is a European Commission Telematics project whose goal is to improve the Accessibility the Web for People with Disabilities, and which is closely related to the W3C WAI project for Europe.

This project is hosted by W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium [1], an international, non-for-profit, industry-funded, and vendor-neutral organization whose mission is Leading the Web to its Full Potential.

WAI stands for Web Accessibility Initiative [2], and it is a Domain activity of the W3C started in 1997, whose mission is, in coordination with other organizations, to pursue accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education & outreach, and research & development.

WAI-TIDE (DE 4105) can therefore be seen as a funding arm for the overall W3C WAI project, with a specific European mission.

ICS/FORTH is an associated contractor, and there are 4 sub-contractors: INSERM/BrailleNet, EBU and RNIB (for W3C/INRIA) and CNR (for FORTH). All the partners are non-for-profit organizations.

The project started in January 1998, runs for 18 months and has 5 Work Packages:

The rest of this document is organized along the this Work Package structure, followed by annexes providing more detailed information about the Partners (Annex A) and the work produced.

WP01: Project Management


Daniel Dardailler (W3C/INRIA, danield@w3.org) is the Project Coordinator and W3C/INRIA is the Prime Contractor. A W3C full staff, he is also the Project Manager of the overall WAI project at W3C.

He is the primary contact for the Commission (email is preferred), his non-electronic address and telephone are .

1004 Route des Lucioles - B.P 93
06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex
Tel: +33 4 92 38 79 83
Fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22


There are no Intellectual Property Right associated with this project.

All the deliverables (Education material, Guidelines, Tools, etc) are for general Public access, delivered via the W3C WAI site.

The TIDE head office has empowered the W3C as the single entity who distributes the results from the project, provided that no commercial use is made.

The text of the agreement, signed by W3C, FORTH and TIDE in February 1998, is:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) through INRIA, as prime contractor for project DE4205-WAI, requests the permission of the Disabled & Elderly Sector of the TELEMATICS Applications Programme DGXIII to become the sole entity authorised to publicly distribute the results of the project. We certify that no commercial exploitation is intended and the results will be available free of charge on the W3C's WWW page. This request is made also on behalf of FORTH, partner in the DE4205-WAI project.


This timeline provides some dates for the historical background events that have lead to this project start, but doesn't include all the events relevant to the project. These will be detailed in the following Work Package sections.

Steering Committee

WAI-TIDE has a Project Steering Committee that consists of the two main contractor managers, together with least one representative of each associated contractor and a Quality Panel representative. It is responsible for the overall strategy. It also has specific responsibility for ensuring that recommendations of the Quality Panel are adhered to by the Workpackage managers doing the technical and awareness developments and dissemination.

Besides face-to-face meeting, WAI-TIDE Project Steering Committee meets electronically under the alias: wai-tide@w3.org

The following people are on it:

This electronic mailing lists and a Web site, hosted at W3C, are used as the day-to-day management vehicle.

W3C acts as the overall project management contact and is responsible to communicating the reports and deliverables to the Commission.

Reports and deliverables will preferably be made available to the Commission using Electronic Mail and Web downloading site.

The Steering Committee or a subset of it (just the W3C sub-contractors for instance) also meets using Phone conference falicities provided by INRIA W3C office.

Online documents

We try our best in this project to provide all the information online, from a project home page [3], in HTML, and other formats, so that it is naturally accessible to everybody, regardless of their preferred output media (graphical screen, braille, speech, etc).

The Technical annex of the contract (DE4105) signed in December 97 are available in different formats:

Also useful is the Part B (Proposal description) of the original technical proposal (Jul 97), which details each workpackage (the figures are sometimes obsolete)

Integration with W3C WAI

Since we want the integration between W3C WAI and WAI TIDE to be very tight, we try to minimize the number of documents specific to just WAI TIDE but instead we try to extend and improve the W3C WAI deliverable and charter documents, and point at them from the WAI TIDE pages.

It is important for the reader to understand that point, so that the rest of this report, based on presentation of W3C materials such as a formal Charter document, make sense.

W3C has a very formal framework for organizing its activities (along Working and Interest Groups, that first must define their Charter), called the W3C Process [6], and most WAI TIDE work-packages are managed to fit under these rules.

One challenge is that over the duration of the DE 4105 programme, the Web may evolve significantly, this may influence W3C WAI priorities and therefore WAI-TIDE priorities. The project management will have to take this context evolution into account to ensure the overall success of the programme.

When change request involves modification of workpackage definition and/or schedule, the change will be notified to the European Commission for approval.

To ensure that this integration is done well, the W3C WAI programme itself has a Steering Committee of its own, where according to the WAI Cooperative Agreement, there are to be 3 members chosen by the US Gov't and specified by NSF; 3 chosen by the European Commission and specified by the TIDE program director; 3 chosen by e-mail ballot of the private sponsors, and 3 chosen by e-mail ballot of the other 9 from a slate of at least 6 suggested by the WAI IPO director.

WP02: Education&Outreach

The goal of this dissemination/awareness workpackage is to promote the realization of accessible content throughout Europe.

Most the resources were spent setting up the W3C WAI Working Group on Education&Outreach (EO), with a W3C charter that's inclusive of European needs, and defining the exact list of deliverables for this work package.

We now have a very detailed WAI EO Deliverable list which is provided in Annex B and is used in day-to-day management of this workpackage.

A particular deliverable, funded by this program, is attached in Annex C and deals with presenting to a technical audience the Accessibility Improvements that have been introduced by the WAI Technical group in the HTML4.0 specification.

This is the kind of article that we now want to submit to technical press for awareness of the content provider market. It has already been featured in different Web magazines on the Internet.

On the management side, because of the ramping up process to create formal W3C groups on Education, this Work Package hasn't really started its activity before the end of March 1998, so as a result, the beginning and end dates (same duration) have been changed (with approval from the TIDE office).


Even though we've shifted this workpackage 3 months ahead, we've accomplished a number of awareness events in the past 8 months.

Worldwide, the WAI has been present in more than 30 events (mostly US, but also Australia, Singapore, Japan, etc).

Regarding Europe, the following are noticeable for 1998.

Most of these are simple presentation (45 minutes) of the WAI activities, including the TIDE part, and the slide set curriculum that we've been using at most of these events is provided as Annex D.

More recently, in July 98, we've started doing complete seminar (several hours) teaching Web site designer how to make accessible Web pages, and our goal is to do more of these in the future (as scheduled in the Project Proposal).

WP03: Rating&Certification

As originally stated, the goal of this work package is to use the PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection [7]) technology to create a classification system assessing the level of accessibility of Web pages.

Several things have happened in that area.

We started creating a prototype PICS rating system for evaluating Accessibility, which is attached in Annex E (together with a screen-dump of the implementation), but at the same time, we decided to create a formal W3C Working Group and Interest Group to discuss all the issues related to building Tools for Evaluating and Repearing (WAI ER) Web Pages.

The two groups (ER-WG and ER-IG) should work together toward producing a WAI "toolkit" that will be offered to people who create and maintain web sites and people experiencing difficulties while using the Web. The toolkit will contain stand-alone tools as well as modules that can be incorporated into other web authoring tools. The PICS Rating system is just one deliverable of this toolkit.

To further details the mission of each group, the ER-WG will consist of those people who are actually creating and writing the toolkit. Members of this group will implement the tools based on input from the interest group (see below) and web authors.

ER-IG will systematically collect feedback from potential tool and web users, discuss issues around evaluation and repair, and provide input to the working group. This is where the discussion and the user feedback on which category to include in a formal rating system should occur.

To some extent, this can be seen as broadening the activity of this workpackage, which was limited to a PICS experiment, to the study of the more general problem of implementing tools that provide Rating and evaluate Web sites.

The charter for the Interest group is provided in Annex F.

WP04: Standardization

A standardisation activity has been defined within the WAI-TIDE project to ensure that the Web related access technologies propagate to the official standard bodies, such as the International Standards Organisation (ISO). The detailed objectives of this activity concern:

During the first six months of the project, the following activities have been carried out:

In addition, a detailed workplan for the remaining duration of the TIDE-WAI project has been developed.

The Annex G presents a summarising account of each of these activities emphasising the detailed objectives set, achievements to date, future work and expected results.

WP05: User Forum

The WAI User Forum is an online user forum to be used by the project workpackages to gather user needs and requirements.

The Forum is up and running under the alias

which is also the formal name of the W3C WAI overall Interest Group.

More than 350 persons are registered in this online forum, with an average traffic of more than 100 messages per month.

A public archive of the most recent messages sent to this list is available at:

The best way to stay informed of overall WAI activities, and to participate in general WAI discussions, is to subscribe to this forum, which can be done automatically by sending a mail to w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org and a "Subject:subscribe" and nothing in the body.

Part B: - Future plans


Continue as planned.

See each WP section for more information (Education&Outreach and Standardization have details)

In particular, we've already scheduled presentations in several conferences in the next few months.

Update of the project programme

Besides the change in start/end date of WP02, no change is forecasted.

Dependencies and relationships

No change to the project relationships and/or dependencies is forecasted, both within and without the Sector.


A. Partner infos

World Wide Web Consortium

The W3C was founded in October 1994 to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability.

It's an international industry consortium, jointly hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] in the United States; the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique [INRIA] in Europe; and the Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan.

Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology.

The Consortium is led by Tim Berners-Lee, Director and creator of the World Wide Web, and Jean-François Abramatic, Chairman. W3C is funded by Member organizations (around 280 in August 1998), and is vendor neutral, working with the global community to produce specifications and reference software that is made freely available throughout the world.

W3C produces Recommendations, documents often called "W3C standards", that define and evolve the core languages and protocols of the Web: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), etc.

W3C's main site is at http://www.w3.org

INSERM/BrailleNet (BN) Backgrounder

BrailleNet is a french consortium whose mission is to to promote the Internet for social, professional, and school integration of visually impaired people. Its objectives are to improve Internet access for visually impaired people, develops pilot web site, containing specific services, explore tele-working and education thru Internet and disseminate result of work to end-users.

The BrailleNet consortium regroups INSERM (French National Institute on Medical Research), EUROBRAILLE (first maker of Braille terminals), AFEI (specialized in the formation of visually impaired people), CNEFEI (specialized in the formation of teachers), ANPEA (National Association of Parents of Visually Impaired Children), FAF (Federation of Blind and Visually Impaires in France).

BrailleNet web site is http://www.ccr.jussieu.fr/braillenet

European Blind Union (EBU) Backgrounder

EBU is a non-governmental and non-profit making European organisation, founded in 1984. It is the principal organisation representing the interests of blind and partially sighted people in Europe with membership made up or organisations of and for visually impaired (VI) people in 43 European countries. EBU has formal consultative status as the co-ordinating NGO for the visual impairment sector on the European Disability Forum in Brussels.

EBU Web site is at: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/EBU_UEA

Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) Backgrounder

RNIB is the largest organisation in the UK looking after the needs of visually impaired people, with over 60 services. Current reappraisal of its work has led to services being increasingly considered in terms of supplying the needs of visually-impaired people at every stage of their lives and in various aspects. The organisation employs around 2500 people based throughout the UK, of whom 7% are visually-impaired. RNIB has already been involved as a partner in the CAPS (136/218) and Harmony (1226) projects.

RNIB web site is http://www.rnib.org.uk

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (ICS/FORTH) Backgrounder

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH, Greece), is a centre for research and development monitored by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Technology (General Secretariat of Research and Technology) of the Greek Government. The Institute of Computer Science, one of the seven institutes of FORTH, conducts applied research, develops applications and products, and provides services. Current R&D activities focus on information systems, software engineering, parallel architectures and distributed systems, computer vision and robotics, digital communications, network management, machine learning, decision support systems, formal methods in concurrent systems, computer architectures and VLSI design, computer aided design, medical information systems, human-computer interaction, and rehabilitation tele-informatics. ICS-FORTH has a long research and development tradition in the design and development of user interfaces that are accessible and usable by a wide range of people, including disabled and elderly people. It has recently proposed the concept, and provided the technical framework for the development of unified user interfaces, that are adaptable to the abilities, requirements and preferences of the end user groups.

ICS/FORTH Web site is at http://www.ics.forth.gr

National Research Council (CNR) Backgrounder

The National Research Council (CNR, Italy) is a government research organisation (staff of about 7000), which is involved in activities addressing most disciplinary sectors (physics, chemistry, medicine, agriculture, etc), in cooperation with universities and industry (one of its tasks being the transfer of innovations to production and services).

CNR Web site is at http://www.cnr.it

B. WAI Education&Outreach Detailed Deliverables List

[This document is for on-going planning used by the WAI Education & Outreach Working Group (EOWG)]

Priority: There are three priority levels: high, regular, later. As of August, 1998, "high" roughly corresponds "by September 1998"; "regular" to October through December; "later" is intended for January 1999 & on, and will be re-assessed according to impact information from implementation of earlier strategies.

Info: The following information is included for each deliverable: priority, due date, status, localization issues, and URL of any current drafts.

The list is organized in 4 sections: Compilation materials, Presentation Curricula, Reference Materials on Accessibility Improvements, and Others, including Brochure, Reference Cards, Business Case, etc.


Events Calendar Existing Curricula Policy References Related Web Accessibility Activities Demographic Information Dissemination Points Press Coverage

Presentation Curricula: slide sets with presentation notes & integrated examples

Note: The following curricula are modular. They should be in the same format (which needs to be developed, but is likely going to be based on the SlideMaker tool distributed freely by W3C) and should be interchangeable so that presenters can mix & match from among the various modules listed here.

WAI Overview

Page Author Guidelines/ Intro to Accessible Authoring User Agent Guidelines/ User Interface Issues Authoring Tool Guidelines/ Prompting, Alerts, Help Text XML & JAVA Business/Policy Case User Information & Involvement/ Related Projects

Reference Materials on Accessibility Improvements

Narrative Description of HTML4 Accessibility Improvements Narrative Description of CSS2 Accessibility Improvements Narrative Description of SMIL Accessibility Improvements Narrative Description of MathML Accessibility Improvements Example Tables Example Interactive Forms Sample Accessible Style Sheets


Brochure(s) Reference Card Business Case Self-instruction & Distance Learning Modules Demonstration & Video Materials Scenarios Interactive Web site/ Mirroring/ CD-ROM Trainer Best Practices Exchange Page Author/Content Developer Workshops Articles/Chapters/Books Translation & Localization Impact Assessment

C. WAI Resource: HTML 4.0 Accessibility Improvements

[This Article was released worldwide together with the release of HTML4.0 by W3C. It is very important to share the visibility of HTML itself to bundled this kind of release together]

As part of their ongoing efforts to pursue and promote accessibility, the Web Accessibility Initiative, joined forces with the W3C HTML Working Group in the design of [HTML4.0], which became a W3C Recommendation in December, 1997. For this latest release of the World Wide Web's publishing language, the WAI group sought remedies for a number of authoring habits that cause problems for users with:

Screen readers
Screen readers intercept code being sent to a monitor and direct the output to speech synthesis or a refreshable Braille display.
Audio browsers
Audio browsers read and interpret HTML (and style sheets) and are capable of producing inflected speech output.
Text-only browsers
Some devices (including handheld devices with small character displays) may only be able to display characters.

In particular, the WAI group addressed:

  1. Unstructured pages, which disorient users and hinder navigation.
  2. Abuse of HTML structural elements to for purposes of layout or formatting.
  3. Heavy reliance on graphical information (e.g., images, image maps, tables used for layout, frames, scripts, etc.) with no text alternatives.

In the following sections, we look at how WAI contributions to HTML 4.0 (in conjunction with style sheets) allow authors to avoid accessibility pitfalls even as they create more attractive, economical, and manageable pages.

Improved structure

Highly structured documents are more accessible than those that aren't, so HTML 4.0 has added a number of elements and attributes that enrich document structure. The new constructs will also allow software tools (e.g., search robots, document transformation tools, etc.) to extract more information from these documents. The following structural elements are new in HTML 4.0:

Style sheets

HTML was not designed with professional publishing in mind; its designers intended it to organize content, not present it. Consequently, many of the language's presentation elements and attributes do not always meet the needs of power page designers. To overcome layout limitations, the W3C HTML Working Group decided not to add new presentation features to HTML 4.0, but instead to assign the task of presentation to style sheet languages such as Cascading Style Sheets ([CSS]). While style sheets are not part of HTML 4.0 proper, HTML 4.0 is the first version of the language to integrate them fully.

Why did the HTML Working Group adopt this strategy? For one, experience shows that distinguishing a document's structure and its presentation leads to more maintainable and reusable documents. Also, by extracting formatting directives from HTML documents, authors may design documents for a variety of users and target media in mind with minimal changes to their original HTML documents. The same HTML document, with different style sheets, may be tailored to color-blind users, those requiring large print, those with braille readers, speech speech synthesizers, hand-held devices, tty devices, etc. But style sheets have another significant impact on accessibility. They eliminate the need to to rely on "tricks" for achieving visual layout and formatting effects. These tricks have the unfortunate side-effect of making pages inaccessible.

For instance, HTML does not have an element or attribute to indent a paragraph, so many authors have resorted to using the BLOCKQUOTE element to indent text even when there is no quotation involved (many visual browsers indent the content of the element). This is misleading to non-visual users: when an audio browser encounters a BLOCKQUOTE element, it should be able to assume that the enclosed text is a quotation. More often than not, that assumption proves incorrect since the element has been misused for a presentation effect.

The BLOCKQUOTE example demonstrates the misuse, for presentation purposes, of an element intended to provide logical information. Many similar traps can seduce HTML authors: they use tables and invisible GIF images for layout; they use H2 or H3 to change the font size of some text that is not a header; they use the EM element to italicize text when in fact, EM is meant to emphasize text (often presented with an italic font style, but rendered differently by a speech synthesizer); they use lists for alignment, etc.

Now, style sheets will give authors a richer palette for layout and formatting at the same time they eliminate the accessibility problems that arise from markup abuse.

Alternate content

A picture may be worth a thousand words to some people, but others need at least a few words to get the picture. Authors should always complement non-textual contexts -- images, video, audio, scripts, and applets -- with alternate text content and textual descriptions. These are vital for visually impaired users, but extremely useful to may others: those who browse with text-only tools, those who configure their browsers not to display images (e.g, their modem is too slow or they simply prefer non-graphical browsing), or for those users who are "temporarily disabled," such as commuters who want to browse the Web while driving to work.

In HTML 4.0, there are a host of new mechanisms for specifying alternate content and descriptions:

The "title" attribute has many accessibility-related applications. For instance, with the new ABBR (abbreviation) and ACRONYM elements, it may indicate the expansion text of an abbreviation. Or it may provide a short description of an included sound clip. Or it may provide information about why a horizontal rule (the HR element) has been used to convey a structural division (although authors should be sure use structural markup as well, such as the DIV or SPAN elements).

But of all the new elements, the OBJECT element (for including images, applets, or any type of object) is the most important for specifying alternate content. With it, authors may specify rich alternate content (i.e., that contains markup, impossible with attribute values) at the same location they specify the object to be included. When a browser cannot render the image, applet, etc. included by an OBJECT element, it renders the OBJECT's (marked up) content instead.

One important application of this OBJECT feature involves client-side image maps. In HTML 4.0, the content model of the MAP element has been expanded to allow marked up anchor (A) elements that give the geometries of the map's active regions. When placed inside of an OBJECT element, the textual version of the image map will only be rendered if the graphical version cannot be. Thus, authors may create graphical and non-graphical image maps at the same location in their documents.

Easier navigation and orientation

Visually impaired users have tremendous difficulties browsing pages where navigation options rely largely on graphical cues. For instance, image maps with no textual alternatives are next to impossible to navigate. Or link text that offers no context (e.g., a link which simply reads "click here") is as frustrating as a road sign that reads only "Exit" -- exit to where? Or adjacent links not separated by non-link characters confuse screen readers, which generally interpret them as a single link.

HTML 4.0 includes several features to facilitate navigation:

Better for everyone

Investing in physical-world accessibility modifications, (wheelchair ramps, curb cuts, etc.) has benefitted a much larger community than those with disabilities: how often have parents with baby carriages or cyclists appreciated these same improvements? The benefits from accessibility innovations can similarly be generalized to other situations:

How do I make my pages more accessible?

The WAI group has produced a set of guidelines for page authors. The guidelines, and related documents, describe good authoring practice in detail as it relates to accessibility.

D. WAI Presentation Slide Set

[This is the source of the slides we're using as a base to present the WAI in various events. Each top header corresponds to one slide]

Overview on Web Accessibility

Accessibility & Universal Design

Includes design for people who... Increases usability of the Web across different devices & situations:

W3C & Web Accessibility Initiative

Five complementary areas of WAI work

WAI Technical Activity WAI International Program Office

WAI Technical Activity


Accessibility Improvements in Technology





Page Author Guidelines

Page Author Guidelines - Current Status

User Agent Guidelines

User Agents Guidelines - Current status

Authoring Tool Guidelines


WAI International Program Office

Interest Group

Education and Outreach

Research and Development

WAI Coordination Group

Coordinates the following groups in WAI Domain: Potential areas outside of WAI to coordinate with:

WAI Domain Team

W3C team members involved in the WAI Domain include: Also six non-W3C WAI interest group & working group chairs

E. Prototype PICS Accessibility Rating System

[This section requires some working knowledge of PICS]

A PICS rating system is a file (standard extension is .rat) that represents a set of categories and vocabulary used to assess a particular domain.

In our case, the domain is the level of accessibility of web pages.

This can be used in multiple ways, for instance by search engine (as in: give me all the pages about that *and* that are "Non Graphical Access Level" < 2) or just as a storage format in a static database of page rating.

The most difficult part if to come up with a semantic mapping as to what the various scale level means (Fully accessible, Mostly accessible, etc) and this is clearly a task for the newly formed WAI Evaluation&Repair Interest Group.

In this prototype, we have defined 2 categories:

(this is not to forget other disabilities such as Cognitive or Mobility impairment, but a starting point)

Each category has a 5 scale-value:Fully,Mostly,Poorly accessible and Mostly, Fully inaccessible

Here is the full access.rat file.

((PICS-version 1.1)
 (rating-system "http://www.w3.org/LabelBureau/WAI")
 (rating-service "http://www.w3.org/Ratings/WAI")
 (name "WAI")
 (description "The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) rating service for the Internet")

  (transmit-as "ng")
  (name "Non Graphical Access Level")
  (description "Level of access to the information on a page for a
	        user agent with no graphical screen capability")
   (name "Full")
   (description "Fully Accessible without a graphical screen")
   (value 0) )
   (name "Most")
   (description "Mostly Accessible without a graphical screen")
   (value 1) )
   (name "Poor")
   (description "Poorly Accessible without a graphical screen")
   (value 2) )
   (name "Bad")
   (description "Mostly Inaccessible without a graphical screen")
   (value 3) )
   (name "None")
   (description "Completely Inaccessible without a graphical screen")
   (value 4) )

  (transmit-as "na")
  (name "No Audio Access Level")
  (description "Level of access to the information on a page for a
	        user agent with no sound capability")
   (name "Full")
   (description "Fully Accessible with no sound")
   (value 0) )
   (name "Most")
   (description "Mostly Accessible with no sound")
   (value 1) )
   (name "Poor")
   (description "Poorly Accessible with no sound")
   (value 2) )
   (name "Bad")
   (description "Mostly Inaccessible with no sound")
   (value 3) )
   (name "None")
   (description "Completely Inaccessible with no sound")
   (value 4) )

Labels are encoded in PICS in the form of:

 (PICS-1.1 "http://www.w3.org/Ratings/WAI" labels
  exp "1997.12.31"  for "http://www.foo.com/foo.html"  by "DD" 
  ratings (ng 1 na 0))

meaning the page http://www.foo.com/foo.html has a

Since modern browsers already implement the PICS standard, we can try out this access.rat file in Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer for instance, and look at the generated User Interface.

Screen dump of IE Content Rating Dialog 
Box showing Prototype Accessibility Rating

F. WAI Evaluation&Repair Interest Group Charter

1 Mission statement

The Evaluation and Repair Interest Group (ER IG ) will work with the ER Working Group (ER WG) on tools for

  1. evaluating the accessibility of web sites
  2. repairing sites when necessary to improve accessibility.
  3. filtering site content to improve accessibility

ER IG will collect and analyze input from all people who use or benefit from these tools, including users with disabilities, web authors and administrators, content owners, and tool vendors.

2 Scope

2.1 Scope of work items 2.1.1 Type of Tool Users
  1. Users with disabilities, including novice and expert users of the web.
  2. Web site authors and administrators
  3. Internet Service Providers (ISP's)
  4. Web content owners, i.e.  the people or organizations whose information is being presented on the web.
  5. Vendors of tools, including stand-along tools, and modules that might be used in authoring or browsing software.
2.1.2 Information sought:

For all the types of users listed above, and for initial and future versions of the tools:

  1. What features are needed for an evaluation tool?  This includes the question of  "rating", e.g. what if any weighting factors should be given to problems the evaluation tools detect?
  2. What features are needed for a repair tool?
  3. What features are needed for "filtering tools" used by end users to help make sites accessible to them.
  4. How should features be packaged?
  5. How should tools be made most usable?
  6. Once tools are completed (e.g. in beta) what improvement may be made?
2.1.2 Sources of input:
  1. Direct advice from members of the group.
  2. The user populations listed above.
2.1.3 Methodology:
  1. Expert advice (e.g. from  WG IG group members.)
  2. Experiment (e.g. asking users to judge two versions of a page)
  3. Collection and analysis feedback from beta testing by novice and expert users..
  4. Informal surveys of users, both novice and expert.
2.2 Criteria for success

Success of the evaluation and repair tools will be gaged by informal surveys of users and testimonial opinions from organizations regarding:

  1. Increased accessibility provided by the tools
  2. Ease of use of the tools.

Success will result from the joint efforts of ER WG and ER IG, and indeed all of the Web Accessibility Initiative. The individual contribution of the ER IG will be measured by examining survey results and testimonials regarding features to which the ER IG particularly contributed.

3 Duration of work items

In view of the constant stream of new technology whose accessibility must be evaluated, the expected duration of the ER-IG is two years, at which time the group should be re-chartered for the duration of WAI work.

4 Deliverables

  1. Recommendations for the questions listed under Scope /Information Sought (Section 2.1.2 above) shall be posted.
  2. A list of issues shall be maintained which shall include whether the issue was resolved and the resolution if any.
  3. A high level description of the processes used used to collect input and make recommendations.

5 Dependencies of other groups on this group

5.1. Groups which will use deliverables
  1. The Evaluation and Repair Working Group (WAI-ER-WG) will use our deliverables as input.  The results will need to be delivered in a timely way for their development schedule.
  2. Any results  we obtain with implications for authoring tools  or user agents will be offered to the respective groups (WAI-AU and WAI-UA).
  3. An overview of our process will be offered to the Education and Outreach Group (WAI-EO) to help that group's outreach efforts.
5.2 Liaison Methods
  1. Documents published on the groups web sites.
  2. Meetings between chairs (WAI-CG) as needed.
  3. Participation of the ER IG Chair in the ER WG.

6 Dependencies of this group on other groups

6.1 Groups whose work will be used
  1. WAI Page Author Guidelines Working Group (WAI-GL). We will use the author guidelines as a basis for discussion.
  2. WAI Evaluation and Repair Working Group (WAI-ER-WG): We will look to this group for tools and plans for tools which may raise issues.
  3. WAI User Agent Working Group (WAI-UA) and Authoring Tools Working Group (WAI-AU).  We will look to these groups for problem solutions that might be brought into stand-alone tools.
  4. WAI Education and Outreach Working Group (WAI-EO) for feedback they may receive in the course of their outreach efforts.
6.2 Required time of delivery.

The Page Author Guidelines are already complete enough for initial work of this group to begin.   Input regarding plans and completed tools of the ER-WG will of course depend on when those plans and tools are delivered, but no requirements are set here.

7 Intended degree of Confidentiality

Group home page, proceedings, deliverables, and charter will all be public.

8 Relation to other groups

8.1 Relation to W3C Groups

This group is related to other W3C groups via the dependencies on deliverables described in sections 5 and 6 above.

In addition,

8.2 Relation to External Groups

In general, we will seek input from groups of the users identified above, including

  1. Groups of users with disabilities, including groups whose missions range from socialization and support to advocacy.
  2. Organizations of web site developers and administrators
  3. Organizations of tool vendors
  4. Research institutions concerned with disability, including universities, government, and other non-profit groups.
  5. Organizations of usability specialists.

9 Milestones for work items & deliverables

Recommendations will be packaged as the following series of deliverables.  However, informal communications will also be delivered to ER WG on other issues as they arise, especially if their quick resolution is needed by ER WG

  1. Initial recommendations for major issues and concerns: 6 weeks after start of mailing list activity.
  2. More in-depth recommendations: 9 weeks after start.
  3. Evaluations of beta tools:  For each tool,  initial review 2 weeks after tool availability.  Final review 4 weeks after tool availability
  4. Additional Milestones and Commitment Dates: 6 weeks after start.

The times at which the other deliverables will be produced will depend on the issues that arise and the number of people available to address them.

10. Meeting mechanisms & schedules

  1. primary meeting mechanism: w3c-wai-er-ig list
  2. bi-weekly to monthly meeting: by phone
  3. quarterly (roughly) meeting: face-to-face

11. Communication mechanisms

11.1 Communication within the group
  1. w3c-wai-er-ig list
  2. /WAI/ER/IG group home page
  3. monthly to bi-weekly phone meetings
  4. quarterly face-to-face meetings
11.2 Communication with W3C
  1. Coordination through WAI Coordination Group to other WAI working groups and interest groups
  2. Direct postings to the WAI Interest Group (WAI-IG).
  3. Report at WAI Interest Group face-to-face meeting (every 4 month on average).
11.3 Communication with the public

12 Voting mechanisms and Escalation

There will be one vote per member (even if there are multiple members from a particular organization).   Votes shall be submitted via email.   (This differs from the W3C voting process for formal W3C process because these are not formal W3C recommendations)

Escalation of issues within ER IG or between ER WG and IG goes to the WAI Coordination Group.

13 Estimated time and effort commitments a group member would have to make in order to participate

  1. minimum 3 hours per week. Of course, greater commitment is welcome.
  2. remain current on w3c-wai-er-ig list and respond in timely manner to postings
  3. participate in bi-weekly to monthly phone meetings or send regrets to chair.

14 Participants

It is crucial to have representation from all people who will be using the tools and the people who will benefit from their use.

We therefore seek participants who can give expert opinion of their own, plus participants who can collect information from people  who would not normally be represented (e.g. non-technical web content owners, people with little or no experience surfing the web).

This requires participation from people who are themselves

  1. Users with disabilities
  2. Web site content owners
  3. Web site authors, administrators
  4. Tool vendors
  5. Experts on disabilities
  6. Experts on usability
  7. As well as people who will reach out to obtain input from novice users, non-technical web site content owners, and any other people who might not normally participate directly.

G. Standardization Work Package Details


A four-phase approach has been followed in the TIDE-WAI project: data collection, data analysis, consolidation & recommendations, and dissemination (see Figure 1). Currently, the first two phases have been completed and the remaining period will be devoted to the remaining activities, namely consolidation & recommendations and dissemination.

diagram showing the four-phase approach in 
the timeline

Figure 1 - Phases of the project

Data Collection and Analysis


The objective of this task was to review the current and on-going standardisation activities related to web accessibility, at European and International levels, considering current work on guidelines and recommendations, standardisation initiatives and national and international policies. As a result of this activity, a list of standardisation committees and existing and on-going standards has been drafted, where accessibility work could be propagated.

Achievements to date

Following the defined plan, the data collection phase started with a thorough investigation of the state of the art on web accessibility related standardisation activities focusing on:

  1. the on-going work on guidelines and recommendations in the context of W3C Web Accessibility Initiative and other relevant initiatives;
  2. related activities and actions in the context of national and international standardisation organisations; and
  3. new proposals as formulated by the industry, designers and developers of web-based applications and services, and user organisations.

This investigation has been conducted through the active involvement of FORTH in: (a) organisations and committees relevant to the WWW (e.g. W3C, UseWeb, Internet Society) and the disability community (e.g. RESNA, AAATE, COST 219, HELIOS-HANDYNET); (b) the involvement in standardisation organisations and committees at European (e.g. ETSI, CEN, CENELEC) and International levels (e.g. ISO); (c) the review of relevant bibliography and information available on the WWW; the participation in related conferences and workshops; and (d) direct contacts with key actors in the disability, ergonomics and standardisation fields. A list of the organisations that were reviewed, as well as the forums where initial work of this activity was presented is provided in Annex I.

From the analysis of the collected data, several conclusions can be derived regarding the present coverage of the work on guidelines and recommendations, the current standardisation activities in the area of Web accessibility, and the existing policies and laws at national and European levels.


Although there are significant efforts in developing guidelines and recommendations for accessible Web documents, the areas covered are limited considering the scope and rapid developments in Web technologies. A considerable effort has been made by W3C/WAI to collect and consolidate the existing guidelines and recommendations and provide a complete and unified set of accessibility guidelines as official W3C documents. The main conclusions of the conducted investigation are:


Due to the short history of the Web and the rapid evolution of the associated technologies, official international or national standards in this field are not yet available. However, in many cases, de facto industry standards have been adopted by the Web community. Recently, standardisation organisations (e.g. IEEE - Internet Best Practices Study Group, Internet Society - Internet Engineering Task Force) have expressed an intention to start standardisation activities related to the Web, including accessibility. From the conducted investigation, the following conclusions can be derived:

A list of Standardisation Committees, where standardisation work on web accessibility could and should be propagated is provided in Annex II.


To make the guidelines and standards applicable to mainstream technology products, accessibility policies and rules need to be adopted. Currently, accessibility related laws are available in:

Despite the influence of these policies on software vendors, their impact on standards is still minimal.

The above data collection results provide an account of the current state of the art in relation to standardisation activities on accessibility in general and Web accessibility in particular. Moreover, they provide a valuable insight towards what is currently missing from on-going standardisation work as well as how existing and future results can be propagated towards the relevant communities.

Future work and expected results

The data collection and analysis phase has been officially completed in the first six months of the project, providing a comprehensive view of the standardisation activities (with regards to Web accessibility) at national, European and International levels. A list of possible paths for promoting standardisation work in this field has been compiled and a monitoring activity will be continued in order to review developments and related work during the remaining time period.

Identification of gaps and new requirements


As discussed in the previous task, the vast majority of existing guidelines for WWW accessibility mainly focus either on page authoring, user agents, or the structure and presentation of Web documents. By implication, such guidelines do not fully address structural languages (e.g. XML), presentation languages (e.g. CSS), scripting languages and other properties which are typically related to the overall interaction platform. On the other hand, the proliferation of interaction platforms and their continuous growth (e.g. HTML, VRML, XML, DHTML), necessitate an account of key requirements that should be preserved if these developments and future ones are to comply with the broad accessibility objectives. The objective of this task is to study and identify such key requirements (at the level of the interaction platform) which would extend the current collection of guidelines on accessible Web design.

Achievements to date

In the present context, the term interaction platform refers to any software tool providing implemented (or the means to implement) interaction elements which in turn can be used to construct a user interface. Such software tools include the traditional user interface development toolkits, such as Windows95TM, Motif, Athena Widget Set, as well as some current and emerging Web technologies such as structural languages (e.g. HTML, XML), presentation languages (e.g. CSS), scripting languages (e.g. JavaScript) as well as emerging Web technologies such as WebTV, Java, etc.

In order to identify accessibility guidelines relevant to an interaction platform, several activities have been undertaken, the results of which influenced what is reported further on as achievements to day:

One important observation related to the accessibility of interactive applications and services by different user groups, including people with disabilities, is that no single interface implementation is likely to suffice for all different users. This simple conclusion leads to the formulation of our first design-oriented principle for universal accessibility in Human Computer Interaction, which reads as follows:

P1: Designing for the broadest possible end user population entails the provision of alternative interface manifestations depending on the requirements, abilities and preferences of the target user groups.

This principle translates to several guidelines, which are summarised as follows:

G1: Provide support for designing for a particular modality or combinations of modalities suitable for different users.

G2: Provide facilities for encapsulating modality-specific designs into unified interface specifications

On the grounds of the above, we can now formulate the second development oriented principle for universal accessibility in HCI, which reads as follows:

P2: An interface that is designed for the broadest possible end user population, including people with disabilities, should link with a target platform rather than making direct calls to the platform.

Such a principle translates to several guidelines or tool development requirements, which need to be preserved in order to facilitate accessibility at the level of an interaction platform. These are:

R1: An interface should be allowed to make use of suitable interaction resources offered by different interaction platforms (platform integration)

R2: An interaction platform should provide facilities to allow enhancements of the originally supported interaction techniques with new ones suitable for specific users and contexts of use (platform augmentation)

R3: Provide mechanisms for specifying interactive behaviours through abstract interaction elements relieved from platform-specific properties (platform abstraction)

R4: Provide facilities which allow an interaction platform to expose and make use of information produced by external software tools (orthogonality)

Each one of these requirements is briefly described in the table of Annex III.

Future work and expected results

It is important to note that the above principles, guidelines and requirements are not yet formulated in a manner that would be acceptable to standardisation bodies, which necessitates further work on interpreting and presenting meaningful recommendations for standardisation activities. This task is expected to be achieved through collaboration and exchanges with members of the W3C-WAI community and through expert consultation. Once the required refinements have been achieved, the results will then be documented in the form of technical reports to be submitted to the relevant standards communities for consideration and inclusion in existing drafts or new work items (see section on dissemination strategy).

Dissemination strategy


The objective of this task is to analyse the collected and consolidated data in order to formulate a strategy for their dissemination towards relevant standardisation and regulation committees.

Achievements to date

Following the review of the current situation regarding standardisation work on Web accessibility and the consolidation of the collected data, potential exploitation paths were examined and evaluated with the aim to define a specific dissemination strategy to be followed in the project.

Several criteria were taken into account in selecting and defining a specific dissemination strategy for standardisation work. These criteria include:

Special attention has been given to the recent efforts towards preserving universal access to services and applications in the context of the emerging Information Society (IS) in Europe, and the development of the National Information Infrastructure (NII) in the USA, and the related standardisation initiatives.

Of particular interest is the introduction, by the European Commission, of a Mandate to the European Standards Bodies for Standardisation in the field of information and communication technologies for disabled and elderly people (SOGITS N 1032 - EN 06/05/98), as well as a collective standardisation action initiated by CEN (the Information Society Standardisation System - ISSS) to include all the relevant European Information Society standardisation activities under a single umbrella.

Additionally, another relevant target is the new work item on accessibility by TC 159 SC4 WG5, which has been contacted in the past and has expressed the willingness to study recommendations and project results which relate to the new work item.

Future work and expected results

From the above, it follows that the work on developing a suitable dissemination strategy in the context of the TIDE-WAI project WP4, will be continued in the light of the preliminary project's results. It is expected that through collaboration and agreements within the W3C-WAI community the workpackage-specific results, as well as other W3C-WAI results, can be propagated to the most appropriate bodies for consideration and inclusion in standardisation activities.

List of reviewed organisations

Standardisation Organisations and Web related Committees / Societies

International Organisation for Standardisation - ISO


  • ISO 13.180 Ergonomics (http://www.iso.ch/cate/13180.html)
  • ISO/IEC JTC 1 Information Technology (http://www.iso.ch/meme/JTC1.html)
  • ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34/SC18 WG8 (http://www.ornl.gov/sgml/wg8/wg8home.htm)
  • ISO TC46 SC4 Computer applications in information and documentation (http://www.iso.ch/meme/TC46.html)
  • ISO TC159 SC 4 (http://www.iso.ch/liste/TC159SC4.html)
  • ISO/IEC Directives (ftp://ftp.iso.ch/pub/out/directives/en/dirpl.html)
  • Stages of the development of International Standards (http://www.iso.ch/infoe/proc.html)
  • Standards: User Interface Standards in the ISO Ergonomics Technical Committee (http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigchi/bulletin/1997.1/standards.html)

American National Standards Institute - ANSI


  • ANSI Standards Action (http://www.doccenter.com/ansi_standards.html)

European Committee for Standardisation - CEN


  • CEN/ISSS - Information Society Standardisation System (http://www.cenorm.be/isss/default.htm)

IEEE Standards


  • IEEE Standards Association (http://standards.ieee.org/sa/index.html)
  • IEEE Standards Bearer (http://standards.ieee.org/reading/ieee/SB/)
  • Internet Best Practices (http://computer.org/standard/Internet/)
  • Standards Working Group, Recommended Practice for Internet Practices - Web Page Engineering - Intranet/Extranet Applications IEEE CS Project P2001 (http://computer.org/standard/Internet/extranet/extranet.htm)
  • IEEE Standards Products Catalog: Software Engineering (http://standards.ieee.org/catalog/software.html)

International Electrotechnical Commission - IEC


  • IEC TC 3 Documentation and graphical symbols (http://www.iec.ch/tc3/home-e.htm)
  • IEC/TC3 - ISO/TC10 Special Joint Working Group 13 Future standardisation needs in th efield of documentation (http://www.hike.te.chiba-u.ac.jp/ikeda/IEC/3/sjwg13.html)

International Telecommunication Union - ITU


  • ITU Standardisation Sector (http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/index.html)
  • ITU-T Recommendations (http://www.itu.int/publications/itu-t/itut.htm)

European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization - CENELEC


European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute - ETSI


  • ETSI Sub Technical Committee HF2 Human Factors for People with Special Needs - Telecommunication Facilities for People with Special Needs (http://www.etsi.org/brochures/stateart/egger.htm)

National Information Standards Organisation - NISO


  • NISO Developing International Standards (http://www.niso.org/internat.html)

Internet Society


  • Internet Society Standards (http://www.isoc.org/internet/standards/)
  • The Internet Engineering Task Force - IETF (http://www.ietf.org/)

World Wide Web Consortium - W3C


  • W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (http://www.w3.org/WAI/)

Australian World Wide Web Accessibility Standards for People with Disabilities


Committees related to the Information Infrastructure

Global Information Infrastructure Commission


The National Information Infrastructure (NII)


  • Information Superhighway (http://www.ntia.doc.gov/opadhome/infohigh.html)
  • Universal Design for the Information Highway (http://node.on.ca/networking/august1998/feature1.html)

Information Society Project Office


  • Information Society Initiatives in Standardisation (http://www.ispo.cec.be/isis/descript.htm)

Web Developers and Service Providers related Organisations

The HTML Writers Guild


  • The HWG Standards List (http://www.hwg.org/lists/hwg-standards/)

The Web Standards Project


Web Design Group


  • Web Design Group-Standards for HTML Authoring for the World Wide Web (http://www.htmlhelp.com/design/standards.html)

Best Viewed With Any Browser Campaign


List of relevant standardisation committees

Standards of Immediate Interest


ISO TC159 Ergonomics

Related Standard

ISO 9241 Ergonomics of Work on Visual Display Terminals



Related Standard

ISO 14915 Multimedia User Interface Design



Related Standard

ISO CD 13407 Human-centred design process for interactive systems




Contribution to, and enhancement of, the last 2 standards with accessibility related work is possible since they are not yet accepted in their final form.

Contribution could also be provided in the new work item on Accessibility that has been recently accepted by the Working Group 5, Sub-Committee 4 of the TC 159.

New work items on Web accessibility from the perspective of ergonomics, human factors and user issues, could be proposed under this technical committee.


ISO/IEC JTC 1 Information Technology / SC 7 Software Engineering

Related Standard

ISO/IEC CD 9126 Software quality characteristics and metrics



Related Standard

ISO/IEC DIS 14598 Evaluation of software products




Contribution and enhancement of both standards to include Web accessibility issues from a software engineering point of view is possible since these standards are not yet accepted in their final form.


ETSI STC HF 2 Human Factors for People with Special Needs

Related Standard





New work item on accessible telecommunication infrastructure and web-based services could be proposed.


CEN/ISSS Information Society Standardisation System

Related Standard





New work item on accessibility requirements of web-based services in the emerging Information Society could be proposed.

Standards of Peripheral Interest


IEEE P2001 Web Page Engineering for Intranet/Extranet Environments (Well Engineered Web Page Guidelines)

Related Standard





New work item on accessible Web-based work environments could be proposed.


Special Joint Working Group IEC/TC3-ISO/TC10 (SJWG/13) Future standardisation needs in the field of documentation

Related Standard





New work item covering accessibility of the Web as a documentation medium could be proposed.


ISO TC46 Information and Documentation

Related Standard





New work item covering accessibility of the Web as a documentation medium could be proposed.


IEEE P1063 Software User Documentation

Related Standard





New work item covering accessibility of the Web as a documentation medium could be proposed.


ISO/IEC JTC 1 Information Technology / SC 34 Document Description and Processing Languages

Related Standard





New work item covering accessibility of the Web as a documentation medium could be proposed.

Description of key development requirements






Ability to import any interaction platform that may be required for the development of interactive applications

In cases where the interaction elements originally supported by a particular interaction platform do not suffice, it is important to be able to utilise interaction elements from alternative sources

Usually, interaction building blocks and re-usable interface components which are provided from different software firms do not follow interoperability guidelines


The process through which additional interaction techniques are injected within the original collection of interaction elements of a particular platform

It is desirable to be provide extended interaction facilities, beyond the original collection, which could be useful in specific contexts of use (e.g. voice-control of windowing application, scanning, etc)

Newly introduced interaction techniques become an integral part of original toolkit elements, while old applications re-compiled with the augmented toolkit version automatically inherit the extra interaction features.


Ability to specify interactive behaviours by means of abstract interaction objects

Different interaction platforms offer different programming interfaces and calling conventions, thus complicating the use development of an interface that makes use of several such platforms

There should be a well defined protocol for mapping abstract interaction objects to concrete interaction elements as supported by a target platform


Ability of a platform's run-time libraries to expose and make use of information produced by external software tools

When a user interacts with a particular application there are issues that relate to the specific contexts of use and which can only be determined during the interactive session. In such cases the interaction platform should provide the means to expose and receive information relevant to the context of use.

Typically, what is required is extensions in the Application Programming Interface of the interaction platform

H. Project Proposal Correspondance

This section identifies the correspondance between the deliverables listed in section C3 of the Project Proposal and this report, and also provides a table that illustrates the use of the resources for the results achieved.

Deliverables (C3)

From the original table in the Project Proposal, the following deliverables are relevant to the first six months of activity:






PD or X


Project Reference Guide






Interim Report






PICS compliant Rating System






User Forum Set-up





Explanation of the table.

In addition, the deliverables listed in Annex C (HTML 4 Accessibility Improvements) and D (WAI Presentation Slide Set) are part of WP02 Education, even though they were not listed in the original Project Proposal (too detailed at that time).

Resources Used

During the first six months of 1998, the following resources have been used: