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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 unapproved draft and should not be referenced or quoted under any circumstances.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops Web accessibility guidelines and technical reports 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.

  1. @@gray documentsWorking Draft: Working Drafts are published and announced specifically to ask for review and input from the community. 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: When a Working Group believes it has addressed all technical requirements, it publishes a Last Call Working Draft. This stage provides a complete document for thorough review. Reviewers should submit any substantive technical comments during the Last Call review period. 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 to ensure that the technical report can be implemented. W3C encourages developers to use the technical report in their Web projects. The technical report is stable at this stage; however, it may change based on implementation experience. While there is an review period during this stage, a Working Group may not readily make substantive changes to the mature techical report.
  4. @@document with check makrProposed Recommendation: After there are implmentations of each feature of the technical report and it is stable, W3C announces it as a Proposed Recommendation. The purpose of this stage is for W3C to gather endorsement of the technical report.
  5. @@black documentW3C Recommendation (Web Standard): Once the technilca report has received significant support from the public, and endorsement by W3C Members and the W3C Director, it is published as a Recommendation. W3C encourages widespread deployment of its Recommendations.

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 and technical reports as they are being developed.

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

The announcements tell you the dates for the review period and where to send comments.