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

["Process 101" title here]

Note: This document is a very rough initial concept draft only and should not be referenced or quoted under any circumstances.
$Date: 2006/08/08 19:07:46 $ [changelog]

Friendly introduction... demystify the process....

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops three types of documents:

Getting to W3C Recommendations [W3C Rec Track Proces Stages]

[maybe image of railroad track with the stages as stations]

W3C Recommendations go through the following stages:

  1. Working Draft: Public Working Drafts are published specifically to get review and input from [interested parties] the community, including W3C Members, the public, and other organizations. Usually multiple Working Drafts are published. Comments received now are most easily addressed.
  2. Last Call Working Draft: Publication as a Last Call Working Draft indicates that the Working Group believes it has addressed all substantive issues and that the document is stable. Sometimes there are more than one Last Call Working Draft when there are significant edits. Last Call review periods last sat least 3 weeks.
  3. Candidate Recommendation: The Working Group believes the document has been has been widely reviewed, all comments have been addressed, and it satisfies the technical requirements. The main purpose of Candidate Recommendation is to gather implementation experience; that is, for people to follow the specification in Web development.
  4. Proposed Recommendation: Is a mature technical specification that has been reviewed for technical soundness and implementability... each feature of the technical report has been implemented (and at least twice). Proposed Recommendations are sent to the W3C Advisory Committee for final endorsement. The W3C Advisory Committee is made up of one representative from each W3C Member. The Proposed Recommendation Review periods lasts at least 4 weeks.
  5. W3C Recommendation (Web Standard): has received significant support from the public, and endorsement by W3C Members and the W3C Director. W3C Recommendations are similar to the standards published by other organizations.
    (There is a whole history behind the terminology, that is out of scope for this document.)

That was a simplified description of the W3C "Rec Track" Process. If you want the definitive descriptions, see the W3C Process Document, Section 7: W3C Technical Report Development Process.

Keeping in the Loop on WAI Work

WAI documents are developed in Working Groups (which are formally defined in the Process Document, Section 6) with input from the public. WAI actively encourages broad participation, review, and comment of our work from industry, disability organizations, accessibility researchers, government, and others interested in Web accessibility. For more information, please see:

If you're looking at a specific doc, here's how to tell status and where to send comments: @@needed???