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

[ROUGH DRAFT] [title]

NOTE: This document is an early, unapproved draft and should not be referenced or quoted under any circumstances.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops Web accessibility guidelines to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. This document introduces how WAI works through a process designed to:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops Web standards such as HTML, XML, CSS, etc. WAI is part of W3C and follows the W3C Process for developing Web standards.

W3C's Web standards are called W3C Recommendations. WAI has developed the following W3C Recommendations:

image: [WAI Accessibility Guidelines] = [W3C Recommendations] = [Web Standards]

The stages that a document, called a technical report, goes through on its way to becoming a W3C Recommendation are listed below, along with some information on the timeframe for the stages.

  1. @@gray documentsWorking Draft: Public Working Drafts are published and announced specifically to ask for review and input from the public. Often there are issues that a Working Group would particularly like input on. Usually multiple Working Drafts of a technical report are published; for example, there were several WCAG 2.0 Working Drafts announced before Last Call.
  2. @@dark gray documentLast Call Working Draft: The Last Call Working Draft stage means that a Working Group believes it has addressed all technical requirements and the document is stable.
    After the Last Call comment period, it can take weeks or months for a Working Group to formally address all comments, document resolutions, and make necessary changes. If there are substantive changes, the Working Group goes through another Last Call Working Draft before moving to the next stage.
  3. @@document and computerCandidate Recommendation: The main purpose of Candidate Recommendation is for developers to try using the technical report and test it's application in their Web development projects. This is used to ensure that it can indeed be implemented.
    When a Working Group announces Candidate Recommendation it includes a date for sending comments, and may also include an estimated amount of time expected in this stage to gather sufficient implementations.
  4. @@document with check makrProposed Recommendation: At this stage W3C seeks endorsement of the stable technical report.

  5. @@black documentW3C Recommendation (Web Standard)

That was a simplified description of the stages and process. For the definitive version, see the W3C Process Document, Section 7: W3C Technical Report Development Process.

WAI also develops documents that support the Guidelines and do not go through the stages described above.

WAI's W3C Recommendations, Working Group Notes, and Resources are developed in WAI Working Groups with input from the community. WAI actively encourages broad participation from industry, disability organizations, accessibility researchers, government, and others interested in Web accessibility. Participating in WAI describes ways that you can contribute to WAI's accessibility work, including reviewing and commenting on WAI Guidelines as they are being developed.

You can comment on documents at any time. Comments submitted earlier in the process, at the Working Draft and Last Call Working Draft stages, can be used more effectively. To get announcements when WAI documents are in a review period, you can subscribe to the following:

The announcements give you information about the review and where to send comments.