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WAI International Program Office Activity Statement

Given the vital role that the Web plays throughout society, it is essential to ensure that the Web is accessible to people with disabilities. Access to the Web can affect people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities. The solutions developed for web accessibility also benefit people without disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) International Program Office helps create a forum where representatives of industry, the disability community, research, and government work together to identify accessibility requirements and develop solutions under W3C Process. Its work is complementary to that of the WAI Technical Activity.

WAI's International Program Office Activity includes the following groups:

Highlights Since the Previous Advisory Committee Meeting

The following are key highlights of the WAI International Program Office since the previous W3C Advisory Committee Meeting in November 2015.

Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG)

EOWG continued developing materials to promote accessibility and to support other WAI groups, and reviewing the deliverables of other WAI Working Groups for understandability, approachability, and ease-of-use. Particular highlights include the following:

These resources were developed with support from the EC-funded WAI-DEV Project.

WAI Interest Group (WAI IG)

WAI staff continued to engage the WAI IG community by providing regular updates on WAI work through WAI Highlights available as RSS feeds, Twitter messages, and WAI Interest Group e-mails. WAI Chairs and Working Group participants monitor WAI IG discussion for feedback on their work and participate in discussions as appropriate.

International Promotion, Standards Harmonization, and Outreach

Additionally, WAI staff conducted promotion, standards harmonization, and outreach activities, some of which are listed below.


Standards coordination and promotion:

WAI staff monitored developments, provided comments, and maintained dialog on the development of technical requirements for web accessibility, in particular on EC Mandate 376 and the proposed EC Directive on Web Accessibility.

WAI staff also promoted and supported the development of translations for WAI documents. In particular to promote the development of Authorized Translations for WCAG 2.0, that are currently available in 11 languages.

Previous Groups

WAI Coordination Group (WAI CG) [Closed]

WAI Working Group Chairs and Staff Contacts met and coordinated regularly through WAI CG on key topics. Particular focus was put on coordinating on addressing accessibility requirements in HTML5 development; coordination joint activities on addressing mobile accessibility and accessibility for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) [Closed]

RDWG held a series of WAI Research and Development Symposia. The group also continued to explore web accessibility research topics, including in the areas of web of things, big data, and way-finding.

The work of RDWG was supported by the EC-funded WAI-ACT Project.

WAI-DEV Project

The EC-funded WAI-DEV Project started on 1 April 2014, and will end March 31, 2016. Project resources will support the updating and development of technical and educational resources through WAI Working Groups. More information is available in the WAI-DEV Project Deliverables.

Upcoming Activity Highlights

The following are key highlights of the WAI International Program Office for the upcoming period:

Summary of Activity Structure

Group Chair Team Contact Charter
Education and Outreach Working Group
Sharron Rush, Brent Bakken Shawn Henry Chartered until 31 May 2017
WAI Interest Group Katie Haritos-Shea Shawn Henry Chartered until 31 May 2017

Shadi Abou-Zahra, WAI International Program Office Activity Lead

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