EOWG Charter 2017 Additional Information

From Education & Outreach

This page has information related to the EOWG Charter 2017.

Organization Statements

(The following are posted a public page with permission.)

  • W3C Member: Yahoo! — Mike Shebanek, Senior Director, Accessibility

    Thank you for requesting input on EOWG's new charter. Here are some thoughts and observations:

  1. The mission of the EOWG is outstanding. This work is much needed.
  2. The scope is also excellent; easy to understand and well focused.

  • W3C Member: Benetech — Charles LaPierre, Technical Lead, DIAGRAM and Born Accessible

    Benetech supports the work of the Accessibility Education and Outreach Working Group and the progress towards re-chartering of the activity. With EPUB now under the domain of the W3C and the new Publishing WG formed we would like to see Education and Outreach include items specific to accessible digital publishing.

  • W3C Member: Deque Systems, Inc. — Denis Boudreau, Principal consultant & trainer

    Deque Systems values the work and resources that are coming out of the EOWG effort. So much so, that we regularly introduce or at least link to these resources in our training materials, and recommend our clients read and use those resources without moderation. Examples of such resources include "How people with disabilities use the Web", "Quick tips to get started", "Quick Reference" and "Planning and managing web accessibility".

  • W3C Member: Pearson — Brent A. Bakken, Director, Accessibility Strategy & Education Services

    My team develops accessibility training and educational materials that are distributed globally across many Pearson lines of business. The backbone of these assets are directly linked to, and aligned with a wide variety of resources posted throughout the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website. The WAI resources, predominantly created by the Education and Outreach Working Group, are seen by Pearson staff as consumable, thorough, and authoritative; therefore trusted. WAI resources that are developed by a working group consisting of a variety of member participants bringing the experience of diverse roles and varied perspectives, lends to the credibility viewed by company leadership.

  • W3C Member: Accessible Media Inc (AMI) — Chris O'Brien, Accessibility Officer

    Accessible Media Inc (AMI) also firmly support the work done by the Accessibility Education and Outreach WG. It is my understanding that the W3C is keenly interested in raising its accessibility competencies throughout its various initiatives. The work done by EOWG provide the solid underpinnings to help us achieve that goal.

  • W3C Member: Knowbility — Katie Haritos-Shea, Board Member, W3C AC representative

Knowbility is pleased with the direction taken by the proposed new charter for the Education and Outreach Working Group and fully supports the request to re-charter. In addition to providing leadership to the group (Knowbility's ED Sharron Rush serves as EOWG co-chair), Knowbility contributes a Fellow to the W3C whose duties partially include EOWG staff liaison. We are motivated to this level of support by our strong belief in the enormous impact of EOWG deliverables in raising awareness and skill in creating an Open Web. EO materials - including the Quick Ref, Tutorials, Policy documents, and more - help the global community understand existing barriers and provide trusted guidance for removing such barriers. The authoritative voice of a W3C Working Group is a powerful incentive for organizations from government, academia, and the private sector to align their ICT goals with W3C accessibility standards.

I personally am excited about the valuable resources that the US government will be utilizing from EOWG as they begin their implementation of the Section 508 Refresh that includes WCAG 2.0.

We are pleased to see substantially greater member participation in EOWG over the last two years. We are confident that the WAI site redesign and resource updates planned for the next charter period will continue to further the accessibility mission of the W3C and look forward to continued participation.

Via e-mail (W3C Member links)


Thank you very much to everyone who submitted questions and comments (and statements of support) during the advanced review timeframe so that we could address them before the formal review period.

Note: Draft EOWG Charter 2017 is updated.

Track record in getting work done?

Of the major deliverables in the 2015 Charter Milestones table, EOWG completed 10, and the remaining 2 may be completed in the current extension period or soon after. EOWG also completed most of the minor updates, did some of the optional work, and completed an additional resource update. Details are available in the 2015 Charter Milestones status table.

EOWG deliverables are also listed on the EOWG home page under Publications.

What real world impact the work being proposed has had in the past? Testimonials from consumers of the work...

...would be more persuasive than those from contributors"

EOWG participants and W3C Staff know of many real world uses of EOWG Resources in external training and consulting, in internal staff training, in MOOCs, in books, in policies, and in standards globally; however, we have not prioritized regular tracking of such information. EOWG participants did look for a few examples of places referring to EOWG materials, and we listed some under Examples of EOWG resource use by community.

Almost all of the expressions of support listed above under "Via e-mail (W3C Member links)" are from consumers of the work who have not been involved in developing it. As mentioned below, many find the work useful without their needing to contribute.

Testimonial-type sharing of resources that consumers find useful is often done in tweets these days. Resource specific below lists a sampling of testimonial-like tweets from consumers on specific EOWG Resources, and below that is list of all tweets since May 2016.

Active participants and engagement in the work?

Over the last 2 years, EOWG has increased W3C Member participation and active engagement in the work. Many W3C Members who are not actively participating have expressed that they benefit from this work (e.g., most of those listed under "Via e-mail" above). EOWG has been continuously improving structures and processes to encourage participation, such as facilitating asynchronous contributions, based on participant and potential contributor input.

Current EOWG currently has 45 registered participants - most are from W3C Member organizations, 3 are Invited Experts (3 others listed as Invited Experts are from a Member company that is getting "paperwork" sorted after a merger), 4 are staff (2 are part-time participants who are active in all EOWG work, and 2 for specific deliverables only). Some of the registered participants are not able to make time to contribute much.
22 are currently actively participating in either all EOWG work or in specific deliverables.
15 engage in most surveys, teleconferences, and/or work via GitHub.

We expect similar active participation going forward. We have seen an increases in comments from beyond active participants (largely through GitHub), and expect that to increase.

One reason that more organizations do not actively contribute to EOWG work is that they are content with the quality of work coming out of EOWG and do not feel the need to participate to improve it.

Who has been actively engaged in the charter preparatory work?

EOWG Co-Chairs (Brent Bakken, Pearson; Sharron Rush, Knowbility) have lead concept development for the deliverables in this proposed charter, along with Staff Contact (Shawn Henry). Potential and then proposed deliverables and the draft charter has been discussed in several EOWG teleconferences and face-to-face meetings since November 2016, included in surveys to all EOWG participants, and discussed in WAI Coordination Calls.

EOWG participants and W3C Staff actively solicited input on potential EOWG work for the next proposed charter from other Working Groups, AC Reps, other W3C Members, and the broader community — for example: at TPAC in September 2016, EOWG Co-Chairs and staff met with other Working Groups and with some AC Reps (some together, some individually); Shawn reached out (either directly, or through EOWG participants) to most of the AC Reps who commented during the 2015 charter review; Brent, Sharron, Shadi, Judy, and Shawn have taken opportunities at conferences to talk to W3C Members as well as the broader community.

The charter and this page were largely written up by W3C Staff Contact Shawn Henry based on input from EOWG Co-Chairs, WAI Director Judy Brewer, and W3C Strategy Teamers Shadi Abou-Zahra and Wendy Seltzer.

What success indicators we can track going forward to assess whether the WG has done what it set out to do.

EOWG will continue to provide status on planned work, such as 2015 Charter Milestones status.

EOWG may also more proactively solicit information on community use of EOWG Resources in order to have better data, including related to outreach.

Why is this being proposed as a Working Group?

See Analysis in the next section.

Analysis of Working Group, Interest Group, Community Group

Partly based on AC feedback in 2015, the Co-Chairs, Team, and EOWG participants have carefully considered the options of work being done in a Community Group, Interest Group, or Working Group. EOWG participants started some work through a Community Group (WAI-Engage), but it got limited contributions and uptake. Since 2015, there has been some effort to get more involvement from the existing WAI Interest Group participants into EOWG Resources (e.g., call for review, reminder). That has resulted in a little more input (usually 0-2 comments per resource), but not sufficient review and contribution.

Based on these experiences and analysis (more details below), EOWG Co-Chairs and participants find that a Working Group is important for:

  • the purpose of the group to develop vetted deliverables by W3C consensus process
  • credibility and authority of deliverables
  • participant support and motivation to contribute
  • leveraging the momentum and positive public reputation of the existing productive working group

Accessibility education and outreach materials with the authority and credibility of being developed in a Working Group can better support other Working Groups and W3C's accessibility goals, as discussed in the charter Introduction.

One perspective is that there is little risk to continue W3C accessibility education and outreach work through the established Working Group, whose productivity and quality of deliverables is at a high level over the last couple of years.

W3C Process

Process 2017 describes WGs and IGs as:

  • Working Groups. Working Groups typically produce deliverables (e.g., Recommendation Track technical reports, software, test suites, and reviews of the deliverables of other groups). There are additional participation requirements described in the W3C Patent Policy [PUB33].
  • Interest Groups. The primary goal of an Interest Group is to bring together people who wish to evaluate potential Web technologies and policies. An Interest Group is a forum for the exchange of ideas.

The Education and Outreach group continues to focus on producing deliverables and updating existing EOWG deliverables through the W3C consensus process, rather than exchanging ideas of potential Web technologies, and thus fits the W3C Process doc's description of a Working Group.

EOWG resources need the W3C process and staff contribution (beyond typical Community Groups) to ensure quality of deliverables that are published as WAI Resources.

Pros and Cons

(merge, no separate EO group)
(existing WAI-Engage?)
Authority and credibility of deliverables PRO: highest CON: lower CON: lower CON: lowest
Participant support or motivation to contribute PRO: highest CON: little (a) CON: little (a) CON: lowest
Leveraging existing productive group PRO: highest CON: less (a) CON: non-existant CON: non-existant
W3C Process requirements for consensus & vetting strongest ? ? ? none

Participant Contribution Perspectives

(a) EOWG participants (most of whom are W3C Members) have repeatedly said that if the group was an Interest Group instead of a Working Group, they expect that their organization would not support their time on it. Some said they would be removed from the group, others said that they wouldn't have much time to contribute to the work, since it would be all outside of their work time. This was mentioned at the February 2017 face-to-face (participant list) as well as other times when the topic was brought up.

Most EOWG participants get permission to spend time contributing to EOWG from their immediate manager. Most of those managers know little or nothing about W3C's distinctions of Working Groups, Interest Groups, and Community Groups. They hear "W3C Working Group" and that sounds like worth investing some time into. However, if they hear "Interest Group" or "Community Group", that sounds less important and not something worth spending employee time on.

Some EOWG participants know that the WAI-Engage Community Group has gotten no traction, and the content they put there gets little attention. Some associate "Interest Group" with the existing WAI Interest Group, which is primarily a mailing list, and not a group that produces deliverables. Thus, some of these individuals feel that it is not worth investing their time and talents in a Community Group or Interest Group.


From 2015 Charter review disposition of comments:

In the W3C Process document, Working Groups are described as typically producing deliverables (and reviewing the deliverables of other groups), while an Interest Group is described as a forum for the exchange of ideas with a primary goal of bringing together people who wish to evaluate potential Web technologies and policies. W3C staff reviewed EOWG against the current W3C Process definitions and given that EOWG is primarily focused on producing deliverables, albeit not normative specifications, we find it fits as a Working Group as currently defined in the W3C Process.

EOWG has tried producing work through a Community Group in the past, and this was not successful at all. Key missing elements included lack of a Team Contact and lack of participation parameters. We feel that EOWG deliverables will be best developed at the pace and quality needed within the context of a Working Group rather than Community Group; and maintenance and updating of the existing EOWG documents will also be best managed in a group that has a continuity of background with those documents.


We agree with your point that additional exploration of the issue of why developers find accessibility difficult can be done in Community Groups, and we are monitoring such discussions, for example, in the Accessible Online Learning, Accessibility in India, and Chinese Web Accessibility Community Groups.

Staff Support and External Funding

As of 4 July 2017, no other existing external funding is allocated to EOWG for this charter period. In the future, other funding may be offered to support EOWG's chartered work.

W3C Member and Community Use of EOWG Resources

Examples of EOWG resource use by community



Education: (which helps industry be able to hire more accessibility knowledge and skill)


Resource specific testimonials

This section has a sampling of consumer tweets and relate info on EOWG work. All tweets are linked below.

How to Meet WCAG 2.0: Customizable Quick Reference

Easy Checks - A First Review of Web Accessibility

How People with Disabilities Use the Web


Tips for Getting Started with Web Accessibility

WCAG-EM Report Tool: Website Accessibility Evaluation Report Generator

Business Case

How to Make Presentations Accessible to All

Web Accessibility Perspectives


All Tweets