DE 4105 - WAI





Authors: Daniel Dardailler, Judy Brewer




Telematics Applications Programme






Version number: 2.0
This file:


Table of contents


Part I: Executive Summary

Part II: Final Report

  1. Setting the Scene

  2. Approach

  3. Results and Achievements

  4. Conclusions and future plans

  5. Contact details

  6. Management Tables

















DE 4105 WAI
Web Accessibility Initiative


Setting the Scene

The World Wide Web has become a vital resource for information and interaction. Close to 20% of the population experiences some form of disability; many of these conditions can present barriers to accessing information technology. It is essential to ensure accessibility of the Web in order to provide access to educational, employment, commerce and civic participation for individuals with disabilities.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C - http:/, an international, vendor-neutral consortium which develops technologies to promote the interoperability and evolution of the Web. W3C provides a setting where WAI can bring together industry, disability organizations, accessibility researchers and government to explore accessibility requirements and develop consensus-based accessibility solutions. For the past 18 months, WAI-DE has provided an opportunity to promote coordination with European organizations focusing on Web accessibility, and to develop materials and activities to support outreach to European organizations.


Accessibility of the Web is an international problem, and any approach to addressing this problem must coordinate with related international efforts. To address the issue of Web accessibility within Europe, WAI-DE has worked in parallel with the international Web Accessibility Initiative hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium, following W3C process to ensure the broadest acceptance of its materials. WAI-DE has focused on a number of specific activities: ensuring European disability community and industry input to the development of WAI guidelines; developing tools that address interim accessibility problems before browser developers implement WAI guidelines, and developing tools that facilitate community review of accessibility of Web sites; and developing a variety of European-specific education and outreach materials. WAI-DE has also continued to broaden partnerships with industry, disability organizations, research centers, and governments in Europe around issues of Web accessibility, to broaden the basis for consensus on common approaches for addressing Web accessibility.

Results and Achievements

This report describes the successful completion of the four work-pages required under WAI DE 4105: Education, Tools, Standards, and User Forum, as well as Project Management activities. Under the Education workpackage, WAI DE conducted 25 presentations at European conferences or events, produced leaflets, a video, resources pages with reference links on policies related to Web accessibility, a demonstration retrofitting of an inaccessible Web site, Quick Tips reference cards, and localizations of these cards and several other materials into European languages. Under the Tools workpackage, WAI DE developed a table linearizer and a reporting tool for review of Web sites. Under the Standards activity, WAI DE analyzed relevant standards and guidelines from national and international standards associations, and recommended activities to pursue integration of WAI guidelines into the work of these standards bodies. Under the User Forum, WAI DE maintained a very active e-mail discussion forum, with hundreds of participants exchanging hundreds of messages per month. This forum served both for feedback on WAI's work, and as a forum in which to raise additional issues for WAI to address. The Project Management workpackage served to provide coordination and oversight among WAI DE workpackages, and to coordinate between WAI DE, other WAI work, and the project's host organization, W3C.

Conclusions and Plans for the Future

Two of the most significant accomplishments of WAI DE have been to develop strong European involvement in the international Web Accessibility Initiative, thereby ensuring that the needs of the European community are addressed within evolving international solutions; and to stimulate additional European-specific activity in the area of Web accessibility on the part of European organizations that have participated in and benefited from WAI DE's work. Given the increasing complexity and pervasiveness of the Web, as well as the advent of multimedia, distance education, E-Commerce -- there is, however, now more rather than less work to be done. WAI DE has therefore proposed advanced work in Web accessibility under the Fifth Framework, IST, to ensure a continuation of European-specific Web accessibility activities. The proposed activities would focus on advanced educational work and tools development needed in Europe.

Contact Details

Project Name:
WAI - Web Accessibility Initiative

Research Area:
Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities

01.01.98 - 30.06.99

Overall cost: 660000 ECU
European Commission contribution: 660000 ECU
Project Proposal:

Web, Web Accessibility, Education and Outreach, Assistive Technology, Tools.

Key Project Participants:


Project Coordinator:
Daniel Dardailler
Tel: +33 4 92 38 79 83
Fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Project URL:


1. Setting the Scene

Millions of people use the Web daily for services related to their professional and personal interests. The Web provides information on every topic; it provides a vehicle for civic participation, commercial transactions, and education. It gives people access to world news, employment opportunities, and each other. Yet for many people with disabilities, it is currently difficult to access the Web.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the WAI DE program are hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international vendor-neutral consortium which develops technologies to promote the interoperability and evolution of the Web. The W3C coordinates the development of core Web protocols and data formats: HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), Resource Description Framework (RDF), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and an increasing number of XML-based applications. W3C provides a setting where WAI can bring together industry, disability organizations, accessibility researchers and government representatives to explore accessibility requirements, and develop accessibility solutions.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) focuses on making the Web accessible to existing and potential Web users who have disabilities. W3C's credibility further assists in ensuring the successful promotion of WAI guidelines, tools, and educational materials to a variety of audiences, including browser and authoring tool manufacturers and site developers.

For the past 18 months, WAI-DE has provided an opportunity to promote coordination with European organizations focusing on Web accessibility, and to develop materials and activities to support outreach to European organizations.

As the Web rapidly displaces existing media, there is an increasing social expectation for its accessibility, and also a growing trend to require accessibility. This trend, combined with the realization of the benefits that a Design for All approach can bring to the Web at large (for instance, to mobile phone users with small display screens), led the W3C to take on a leadership role and launch the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in 1997.

Current Situation

Gains in accessibility of the Web are continually threatened by increasing use of multimedia and advanced Web technologies. At the same time, awareness of the need for Web accessibility is increasing, but not yet as rapidly as the spread of the Web itself.

Web accessibility barriers exist for many kinds of disabilities:

Over the past two years, WAI has developed guidelines and technical reference documents which have achieved international recognition. Awareness of WAI guidelines is spreading in both the public and private sectors. Emerging policy requirements for Web accessibility in various countries, combined with education and outreach efforts of WAI and WAI DE and collaborating organizations, should spur this awareness onward.

In addition to policy requirements for Web accessibility, many organizations have expressed interest in the carry-over benefits of accessibility for other users. Even those without disabilities benefit from many changes motivated by the needs of people with disabilities. When driving a car, for example, a driver may wish to browse the Web for information using a voice-based interface similar to that used by someone who is blind. This is sometimes referred to as "Design for All," or the curb-cut effect, where an accessibility-driven design such as a mini-ramp in a sidewalk curb allows easier passage for wheelchair users but is also favored by people pushing baby strollers, riding bikes, pulling luggage on wheels, etc. In particular, the mobile phone industry has expressed interest in the contributions of Web accessibility to greater usability for all.

WAI's workplan has capitalized on the unique host environment of the W3C to provide access to the earliest design stages of Web technologies. WAI has successfully used the formal W3C process for review and approval of specifications to ensure consensus-based accessibility guidelines; and both WAI and WAI-DE continue to benefit from the W3C setting in developing high-quality support and reference materials to assist in promoting these guidelines. 

2. Approach

WAI DE's overall approach is to improve accessibility of the Web in Europe through a variety of activities that are coordinated with and that complement the work of a broader international initiative.

W3C has an activity in the area of Web Accessibility, called WAI. We use "WAI-DE 4105" in this report to indicate the Telematics project. WAI primarily focuses on technology groups working on the accessibility of the core Web formats such as HTML, XML, and CSS; and also on a set of guidelines accompanying the technologies, that address accessibility of Web content, and of browsers and authoring tools. WAI is organized to pursue accessibility of the Web through five areas of work:

  1. Technology review and development: centered on protocols and data formats, especially HTML, CSS, XML, SMIL, DOM.
  2. Guidelines for use of the technology: targeted to user agent and authoring tool developers, and to Web content developers.
  3. Education and outreach: raising awareness of the content creation community around the concept of Design for All;
  4. Tools for evaluation and repair of Web pages.
  5. Coordination with research and advanced development.

From among these work areas, the WAI-DE 4105 project concentrated on education and outreach in Europe, specification and prototyping of tools, standardisation, and the hosting of an umbrella User Forum Interest Group.

Approaches for each of these work-packages are detailed below.

In order to meet the requirement of internationalization of the approach for addressing Web accessibility, W3C used its own member funds to complement those of various industries and governments with funding from the European Commission. In so doing, it helped ensure participation of W3C staff developing Web protocols with this European action to ensure that the evolution of the Web removes, rather than reinforces, barriers to the Web.

It is important to note that this grant is hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international non-for-profit, vendor-neutral organization which fosters the evolution of the major Web protocol and format specifications, and whose goal is to lead the Web to its full potential (a long description of W3C is provided in the contact section). Being located at the heart of Web technology development allows WAI to address accessibility issues at the beginning of the development cycle, and also to sensitize technologists world-wide to Design for All principles.

The WAI-DE 4105 Telematics proposal complements W3C WAI technical work by addressing content providers -- the people that create and distribute the information -- and end-users, through its user forum and tool workpackage. WAI-DE 4105 focuses on the European Web content providers and market. This approach enables different "stakeholders" in accessibility to work together at the design table. Over a hundred organizations from around the world participate in some part of WAI work, including industry, disability organizations, access research centers, and governments. An increasing number of these organizations are European, due to WAI-DE 4105's activity.

As global as the Internet and the Web are, there is still a clear need for local actions when content providers are the target. A similar fund-raising activity for education and dissemination is being pursued by W3C for the Americas and the Pacific rim. We think all these actions are required for the Web as a whole to become more accessible.

Approach on Management

It is important that the integration between W3C WAI and WAI-DE 4105 has been tight in order to maximise the leveraging of W3C actions in the DE project. WAI has therefore extended and improved the overall W3C WAI deliverables and charters, and cross-linked them with the WAI-DE deliverables.

W3C has a very formal framework, the W3C Process, for organizing its activities, under a structure of Working and Interest Groups which must first have defined charters, that first must define their charters. Most WAI DE work-packages have been brought under this process.

To ensure that this integration is well managed, the W3C WAI International Program Office itself has a Steering Committee, composed of members chosen by the U.S. National Science Foundation; the European Commission (specified by the DE Program Director); disability organizations; and industry sponsors most of which are W3C Members.

Approach on Education & Outreach

In order to improve Web accessibility, it is important to target a variety of audiences. Content providers are one of WAI's primary targets since they determine much of the content on Web sites.

However, content providers are also influenced by other players: authoring tool vendors, Web site designers, Web-design educators, the press, and the user base. In order to reach all these communities, WAI must direct its efforts through a variety of activities -- presentations in major Web industry conferences; direct contact and awareness action with major European Web site providers; addition of accessibility "modules" in Web design curricula; direct contact with major authoring tool providers; submission of articles to the press, etc.

Another educational aspect also needs to be explored: the education of the disability community itself regarding their rights with respect to accessing information like everyone else. This is particularly timely where some countries are already subject to existing legislation regarding access (see the US Americans with Disabilities Act or the UK Disability Discrimination Act). WAI has compiled a reference list of polices related to Web accessibility, which has become a key resource for the disability community.

While education and outreach are crucial aspects of WAI's work overall, these are not something that has traditionally fallen within W3C's role. Clearly, part of the raising of awareness should take place as part of the training that is packaged with any Web authoring tool. But part of this work also goes beyond individual tools, and is part of the traditional role of government: helping sensitize key players, including content providers, to the needs of an important minority population.

Approach on Tools

To complement work on improving Web technologies and producing guidelines, WAI has been developing tools to evaluate Web Content accessibility and repair inaccessible pages, and coordinating with organizations that develop such tools.

WAI-DE decided to depart from its original tools goal to develop a  Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) accessibility implementation, and decided to expand the scope of this workpackage beyond the study and prototyping of PICS in the context of accessibility but to work on the more general problem of implementing tools that provide evaluation, transformation and repair of Web sites. One reason was that PICS was becoming a dated technology without convincing uptake by industry; another was the pressing need for other types of tools.

Since many people and organizations are working on such tools within and outside W3C, and in order to converge on the measurement criteria for Web accessibility, we first needed to put some effort into coordination in the area of accessibility validation and tool prototypes. There is also a need to develop novel tools that end-users have expressed a need for.

WAI-DE's approach here has been to create and closely integrate with a new W3C WAI activity focused on tools and supplement it with specific resources as needed.

This was organized around a W3C working group called WAI-ER (for Evaluation and Repair), with a charter to examine:

  1. What features are needed for an evaluation tool?  This includes the question of  "rating", e.g. what if any weighting factors should be given to problems the evaluation tools detect?
  2. What features are needed for a repair tool?
  3. What features are needed for "filtering tools" used by end users to help make sites accessible to them.
  4. How should features be packaged?
  5. How should tools be made most usable?
  6. Once tools are completed (e.g. in beta) what improvement may be made?

We found our early work on PICS Rating System to be usable in this context (see result section) but we have now allocated more time in the framework of this ER group on collecting and analyzing input from users who benefit from these tools, including users with disabilities, Web authors and administrators, content owners, and tool vendors.

Approach on Standardisation

In order to determine precisely what could be the scope of any future standardisation activities regarding accessibility of Web-based interactive applications and services, an investigation was undertaken by our partner FORTH covering the broad international state of the art.

This activity aimed at: (a) identifying and assessing the international state of the art with regards to current, on-going and anticipated future standardisation activities related to Web accessibility; (b) identifying the requirements for Web accessibility and developing recommendations for meeting these requirements; and, (c) disseminating the results to the relevant national, European and International standardisation bodies. A four-phase approach has been adopted by the project towards achieving the above objectives, comprising:

The data collection and data analysis phases provided valuable insight into what was currently missing from on-going activities related to accessibility guidelines, recommendations and standardisation work, as well as into existing and future results that could be propagated towards the relevant communities. Moreover, the analysis of the collected data enabled the derivation of several conclusions regarding the present coverage of the work on guidelines and recommendations, the current standardisation activities in the area of Web accessibility, and the existing policies and laws at national and European levels.

This task also addressed identification of unified interaction requirements in Web-based applications and services, facilitation of accessible and high quality interfaces for user with different requirements, and abilities and preferences, including disabled and elderly, following the concept of design for all.

It should be clarified that the standardisation workpackage study is not at the same level as existing W3C WAI guidelines on Web accessibility. The latter are of immense practical value, as they offer Web developers immediate and concrete consensus-based guidance as to how to render the Web content they produce accessible by people with different types of special requirements. The work in the standardisation work-package introduces a somewhat different perspective to the accessibility of Web technologies, with the aim to: (a) take a further step towards addressing the fullest possible range of user requirements, across the broad range of existing and forthcoming / future technologies; and (b) to overcome the difficulty that current accessibility guidelines and recommendations face in reaching standardisation bodies.

Approach on User Forum

As the internet is the primary discussion forum for development of Web technologies, it was logical to establish a User Forum using an on-line approach. This had the additional advantage of facilitating participation across distances and disabilities, since use of e-mail is generally low-cost and communication is asynchronous.

WAI's On-Line User Forum was developed to provide a primary place within the Web community to discuss issues relating to Web accessibility; to recruit participants into WAI working groups; to invite feedback on WAI working drafts; and to exchange strategies on promotion of Web accessibility.

Occasional face-to-face time was also considered important to enable more in-depth discussion on specific topics; therefore the User Forum involved face-to-face meetings several times per year as well.

3. Results and Achievements

The WAI DE 4105 had five work-packages:

  1. WP01: Project Management
  2. WP02: Education and Outreach
  3. WP03: Tools
  4. WP04: Standards
  5. WP05: User Forum

Each of these five work-packages comprised several deliverables. Deliverables were completed as expected, with a few exceptions as noted below where changes were necessary to better accomplish the objectives of the work-package.

The descriptions below of work-package results and achievements provide a comparison of the original objectives, methodology/approach, and deliverables against the completed activity and accomplishments.

WP01: Project Management

Original objectives, methodology/approach, and deliverables for WP01, as stated in the technical annex:


The objective of the management workpackage is to ensure that the workplan, targets, milestones and deliverables are met within the agreed time and cost schedules.

Work Description (Methodology / Technical Approach):

The co-ordinating partner who will provide the project management will also provide the technical management of the project. No distinction is made in this package. Consequently, in addition to overall management tools, two other issues are addressed: the definition of common methodologies across the project, and quality control & assurance. Most of the management will be done using day-to-day electronic means between the partners, using a mailing list set up by the co-ordinating contractor. In addition, conference calls and face-to-face meeting will be scheduled on a regular basis to ensure the proper advance of the work.

A Project Steering Committee will be set-up that consists of the two main contractor managers, together with one representative of each associated contractor and a Quality Panel representative. It is responsible for the overall strategy. It also has specific responsibility for ensuring that recommendations of the Quality Panel are adhered to by the Workpackage managers doing the technical and awareness developments and dissemination.

Meetings will review progress, accept and sign off deliverables, reports and demonstrators, and identify and carry out any replanning of the project. These meetings will normally be a minimum of one-day duration. At technical meetings, each package that is ongoing will present its findings to date together with plans for future work. The aim of these technical meetings will be to bring the project together at regular intervals to allow partners to benefit from the progress being made in different areas of the project.


Results and achievement for WP01 at project's completion:

Satisfaction of Objectives: Project management ensured the successful completion of overall workplan deliverables, within cost schedules. Several deliverables ran past their scheduled milestones, but were nevertheless completed by the end of the project.

As projected in the original approach/methodology section, a primary means of coordination was through electronic mail and a mailing-list established for WAI DE contractors and subcontractors.

The project manager at INRIA, Daniel Dardailler, as the coordinating partner for WAI DE, also provided technical management to contractors, through e-mail, teleconference, and face-to-face. Technical management from the project manager was supplemented by direct participation of most WAI DE contractors and subcontractors in the relevant WAI working groups and interest groups; for example:

Several face-to-face meetings between contractors were held, for in-depth discussions of project activities. These included a half-day meeting of all contractors and subcontractors in April 1998, and individual meetings with subcontractors and the partner contractor in 1998 and 1999. On an as-needed basis, the project manager arranged additional individual or group telephone conferences to discuss issues with regard to project coordination or progress on specific deliverables. These included several teleconferences in the Winter of 1998 and Spring of 1999. The director of the WAI International Program Office, Judy Brewer, also met individually and in small groups with all contractors and subcontractors to help ensure progress and quality of education and outreach-related deliverables.

WP01, D1: A Web-based project reference manual for WAI DE , deliverable "D1" for WP01, was established and maintained at <>. This is available in hard copy as Appendix 1.1.

WP01, D2, Sixth-Month Report, is available on-line at <>.

WP01, D3, Twelve-Month Report, is available on-line at <>.

WP01, D4, Fifteenth-Month Report, was an update of the <> and e-mail communication between Daniel Dardailler and the Commission.

WP01, D5, Final Report, is available in hard copy (this report) and in this revised final form at <>

Additional information on WP01, requested by reviewers:

This section provides additional information requested by reviewers on several questions relating to project management:

  1. Balanced and consistent methods of approach
  2. Realistic time scales and resource allocations
  3. Effectiveness of project management techniques
  4. Strong synergy and integration between different parts of the project
1. Balanced and consistent methods of approach:

WAI DE used several management, communication, and quality assurance approaches consistently across all work-packages. These included:

Given the different types of deliverables under development, there was some appropriate variation in the methods of approach. For example, a subcontractor that was developing a short videotape on Web accessibility was asked to coordinate very closely with WAI's Education and Outreach Working Group [EOWG], after initial review of the video script showed that more involvement in message development would be advisable. This coordination include submitting revised scripts to the EOWG and participating in discussions to review these. This resulted in a close collaboration between this subcontractor and the EOWG, and extensive and helpful feedback into the making of the video. In other cases subcontractors developed their materials in close coordination with their own user communities. In yet other instances, such as development of tools to facilitate evaluation of Web site accessibility, these were developed directly within the Evaluation and Repair Tools Interest Group [ERIG].

An additional note is that subcontractors were allowed some initial flexibility in determining the format of outreach-related deliverables. This initial limited flexibility allowed for the selection of formats in response to needs in the user community, for instance the RNIB video, which provides a brief multi-media introduction to concepts of accessibility, and the BrailleNet leaflet which provides a user-friendly introduction to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It is the project manager's perspective that this aspect of flexibility allowed the project's approach to remain effective even within the rapidly changing context of the Web.

2. Realistic time scales and resource allocations:

Resource allocation was adequate in all cases except in the production of the video, where the contractor, RNIB, had to seek additional resources to supplement WAI DE funding. Likewise, given the eventual scope of the RNIB video production, this is the one area of deliverables where the time scales should also have been longer to allow for the extensive review and feedback cycles which contributed to the quality of the final product.

Regarding overall timelines, initial administrative delay in establishing subcontracts and establishing the Education and Outreach Working Group resulted in a three-month delay in certain deliverables; this time shift however was negotiated and approved by the project officer early in the course of the project. An additional delay at the end of the project resulted from difficulty collecting the final rounds of paperwork from subcontractors.

3. Effectiveness of project management techniques:

The effectiveness of the project management techniques overall was adequate, in that quality work was delivered, on budget, and with a few exceptions within the anticipated timelines.

However the project manager notes several areas in which management techniques could be strengthened for future work in this area:

4. Strong synergy and integration between different parts of the project:

Overall there was a high level of synergy between different parts of WAI DE that contributed to its overall success. This was most evident in the activities of the INRIA partner and two of the subcontractors, RNIB and BrailleNet, all of which contributed actively in a variety of ways in the international WAI project. This integration helped ensure that the work on any specific work-package was completed with benefit of knowledge of work underway in other areas, and also served to bring ideas back from those forums into the organizations of the individual subcontractors. This integration included participation by representatives of RNIB, BrailleNet, and EBU in a number of WAI interest groups and working groups, which often resulted in opportunities for them to interact with each other and with representatives of other European organizations.

The part of the project that was least integrated was ICS/FORTH's study on standardisation, with CNR as a subcontractor. As planned in the original technical annex, this study was conducted as an independent review of the standards context and upcoming opportunities to integrate WAI's work with that of other standards organizations. Any advanced work in this area would require closer integration with WAI work.

Details of resources and costs

Please see the Management Tables at the end of this Report for details of Resources/Cost spending.

WP02: Education and outreach

Original objectives, methodology/approach, and deliverables for WP02, as stated in the technical annex:


The goal of this work-package is to promote the realization of accessible content throughout the Web.

Work Description (Methodology / Technical Approach):

This needs to be done using education means (teach the content providers how to create accessible content), dissemination of information (guidelines helping the authoring phases) and awareness (constantly remind new players of the issues involved). In order to reach our goal, we need to target different audiences.

The content providers are of course our first target, and "in fine" our only target, since they will eventually decide what to put on the pages. But for doing so, they use, listen, and are influenced by, several other actors: authoring tool vendors, web site designers, web-design educators, the press and the users base.

In order to reach all these communities, we have to target our effort along a series of events: presentations/talks in major Web related conferences, organizations of free seminars at these conferences or isolated, direct contact and awareness action with major European web site providers, addition of accessibility "modules" in the curriculum of the major authoring tools educational process, direct contact and lobby with the major authoring tool providers, submission of papers in specialized and regular press.


Results and achievement for WP02 at project's completion:

Satisfaction of Objectives: This work-package effectively promoted awareness of Web accessibility throughout the Web in Europe and provided support for implementation. There was more activity under the Education and Outreach work-package than originally planned or contracted for. This increased activity was particularly in the areas of presentations, and development of educational materials, although it also included more press outreach than anticipated. The increase was due to a greater perceived need for awareness and training in the area of Web accessibility than originally anticipated, a perception which appears accurate as the demand for these materials continues to increase. Overall, the activity in this area had a substantial impact on awareness throughout Europe of the need for Web accessibility, and stimulated the development of several other projects as a result.

WP02, D1: Report on Presentations Made in European Union Countries under DE4105:

WAI staff conducted 25 presentations in European Union Countries during the project. These presentations served to increase participation in WAI activities, awareness of WAI resources, implementation of WAI guidelines, and in some cases to promote the formation of local activities relating to Web accessibility. A complete list of presentations is available in Appendix 2.1.

The venues crossed a variety of audiences, including Web industry, accessibility research, disability community, and government. Topics ranged from a basic overview of the reasons for addressing Web accessibility, to in-depth technical presentations to webmasters. The interest level was consistently high across all audiences, and created an additional demand for presentations which WAI DE did not have the resources to meet.

As some of the presentation locations show, WAI-DE has leveraged the new W3C Office presence (Germany, UK, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc) to do outreach in Europe about Web accessibility. These offices are W3C points of contact in various countries where the impact of W3C industry outreach coming from MIT, INRIA or Keio has less impact than does outreach from a local office.

Because of the initial ramping-up process to create a formal W3C working group on Education, this workpackage did not start its activity until the end of March 1998, so as a result, the beginning and end dates (same duration) were shifted three months ahead with approval from the Commission office.

WP02, D2: Accessibility Modules for Authoring Tools -- Demonstration of Web Site Retrofit for Accessibility

An inaccessible frame-based Web site was selected from the Web and retrofitted by correcting five of the most common accessibility errors noted in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The text of the site was first changed to protect privacy of the original webmasters. This exercise was captured in an on-line demonstration showing the site before conversion, then introducing the guidelines and rationales used during conversion, then showing an equally attractive yet now accessible Web site after conversion. The demonstration also includes a simulation of browsing using an assistive technology browser (text-only) such as Lynx, before and after the conversion. This demonstration has been of great value as a simple tutorial and has generated strong audience interest. The current version of this demo is online at: <> and is also made available on paper (5 copies: Appendix 2.2). The demonstration will be further developed as a stand-alone tutorial, and offered for incorporation into tutorial and help files made available by authoring tool developers.

A second anticipated deliverable was deferred due to delays in completion of the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines, which are guidelines for tool developers that address WYSIWYG editors, database generation tools, HTML conversion tools, site management tools, etc. A curriculum module providing in-depth instruction on the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines has been contracted for and will be developed with other resources, pending completion of the guidelines on which the curriculum will be based. In its place, WAI-DE completed several times the originally planned education guideline materials, described below at WP02, D3, A-J.

WP02, D3: Education Guideline Materials:

A variety of educational materials were developed under WP03 to promote awareness and implementation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These materials are described briefly below, and included in the appendices.

WP03: Tools

Original objectives, methodology/approach, and deliverables for WP03, as stated in the technical annex:


This work package deals with a novel idea which will use the result of the latest development in the area of Web information access: the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS).

Work Description (Methodology / Technical Approach):

It's about creating a new descriptive rating vocabulary to assess the level of accessibility of Web pages and putting it at work with users in a small pilot phase involving a community of people with disabilities.

PICS is an infrastructure for associating labels (meta-data) with Internet content. It was originally designed to help parents and teachers control what children access on the Internet, but it also facilitates other uses for labels, including code signing, privacy, or intellectual property rights management. We want to create another use for PICS: Level of Accessibility of Web Content.

As the PICS syntax and architecture evolves under the auspice of W3C, the system developed by this work package will be adapted to meet the new requirements.


  1. D1: PICS compliant Rating System to assess Accessibility level of Web pages (month 6)
  2. D2: Integration in PC platforms. (month 12)
  3. D3: Pilot Label database on the Internet (month 12)
  4. D4: Operational Label Bureau (month 18)

For the last three deliverables, an online demonstration will be available to test the system.

Results and achievement for WP03, at project's completion:

Satisfaction of Objectives: As explained in the "Approach to Tools" section and in interim reports, and with the permission of the Project Officer, WAI departed from the original plan to develop a PICS rating system and label database after exploration revealed potential conceptual and implementation problems with this approach, and after it became apparent that there were broader and more pressing problems in the area of evaluation criteria and repair tools.

The deliverables for this work-package were adjusted to instead comprise the following:

  1. D1: Exploratory PICS rating system
  2. D2: Charter for the Evaluation and Repair Tools Interest Group.
  3. D3: Web Accessibility Reporting Tool
  4. D4: Table Linearizer
  5. D5: Specification for Textual Equivalents

WP03, D1: Exploratory PICS rating system (available as Appendix 3.1)

WP03, D2: Charter for the Evaluation and Repair Tools Interest Group. This Charter established under the W3C process a forum for examining requirements for evaluation and repair tools. It is available as Appendix 3.2 and <>. The group continues to be active today.

WP03, D3: Web Accessibility Reporting Tool .This is a reporting tool enabling user review and comment on Web site accessibility; automated output of review comments and recommendations to the owner of a Web site; and automated storage of review data for monitoring and comparison of review activities over time. The tool implements insights gained from the "User Review Campaign" activity described under WP05, D4. The reporting tool is available as available as Appendix 3.3 and at <>.

WP03, D4: Table Linearizer. This is a transformation tool, written in Java, that enables a user to transform HTML tables into formats that are more readable by individuals who are blind or who have cognitive impairments. This deliverable was introduced in the Month 12 report. It is available as Appendix 3.4, at <>, and source code on the ERCIM CD-ROM.

WP03, D5: Specification for Textual Equivalents. This specification provides information and rudimentary rules for replacement of rich media such as images, imagemaps, framesets, applets, etc., with appropriate textual equivalents. It has been used in proxy and gateway implementations of transformation tools. It is available as Appendix <>.

WP04: Standards

Original objectives, methodology/approach, and deliverables for WP04, as stated in the technical annex:


To identify and assess the international state of the art with regards to current (on-going) and future standardisation, identify requirements for accessibility and develop recommendations, disseminate the results to the relevant national, European and International standardisation bodies.

Work Description (Methodology / Technical Approach):

In order to determine precisely what could be the scope of any future standardisation activities regarding accessibility of Web-based interactive applications and services, a thorough investigation will be undertaken covering the broad international state of the art.

This task will also be concerned with the identification of unified interaction requirements in Web-based applications and services. Based on such requirements, we will then derive recommendations and guidelines towards unified interaction in the Web; facilitation of accessible and high quality interfaces for user with different requirements, abilities and preferences, including disabled and elderly (i.e. following the concept of design for all).


Results and achievement for WP04 at project's completion:

Satisfaction of Objectives: As described in the "Approach on Standardisation" section above, this work-package, completed by FORTH, included four phases: data collection, analysis, consolidation/recommendations, and dissemination. All phases were completed according to the original objectives and work description.

WP04, D1, Report on data collection methods and data analysis: The data collection and data analysis phase (presented in earlier report provided insight towards gaps in on-going activities related to accessibility guidelines, recommendations and standardization work, as well as to how existing and future results might be propagated towards the relevant communities. Analysis of the collected data enabled conclusions regarding present coverage of work on guidelines and recommendations, current standardization activities in the area of Web accessibility, and existing policies and laws at national and European levels.

WP04, D2, Draft Report on Standardisation: The draft report, presented in the Month 12 report, constituted a preliminary summary of findings and recommendations in the area of Web accessibility.

WP04, D3: Final Report on Standardisation: The final deliverable (see Appendix 4.3) presented a summary account of the activities carried during the last two phases of the project -- the consolidation/recommendations and dissemination phases -- and recommended standardisation activities not addressed by the existing sets of accessibility guidelines and recommendations.

More specifically, this final deliverable reported on:

In particular, the development of standardisation recommendations aims to: (i) provide process-oriented guidance, through guidelines, on accessibility and universal design in HCI in general, and development of Web-based applications and services in particular; and, (ii) translate the resulting guidelines into requirements that need to be met by the interaction platforms and the development tools, in order for them to provide the required support for building interactive applications and services accessible by the broadest possible end-user population, including people with disabilities. The scope of the process-oriented design guidelines and the corresponding software technology requirements was deliberately broad in an attempt to provide a conceptual framework, independent of a particular technology / interaction platform, whereby universal accessibility is integrated in the development life-cycle of interactive applications and services. Specifically, the software technology requirements approached accessibility of the Web as an issue pertaining to interactive software with particular characteristics (e.g., presence of structural and presentational languages), so as to anticipate future developments and provide generic guidance that would be applicable beyond the current generation of technologies.

Following the review of the current situation regarding standardisation work on Web accessibility and the consolidation of the collected data, alternative paths were examined and evaluated with the aim to define a specific dissemination strategy to be followed in the project. Three dissemination channels were identified as potential candidates for Web accessibility standards, namely: (a) standards on user-centred design; (b) standards on accessible design; and, (c) quality standards. The final action plan proposed two alternative dissemination strategies, taking into account the following criteria:

The first of these strategies, which would involve addition of new recommendations to existing standards, was stated in the report to be difficult or, in some cases, infeasible. The second, recommended strategy, involved the introduction of new sections in on-going standardisation activities.

Future use of the conclusions from this report would require an initial period of updating, as the contents of various guidelines and the status of relevant standardisation activities upon which the analysis and recommendations are based is extremely rapidly-changing, and already outdated in some areas.

WP05: User Forum

Original objectives, methodology/approach, and deliverables for WP05, as stated in the technical annex:


This activity will focus on the creation and the maintenance of an online user forum to be used by the project workpackages to gather user needs and requirements.

Work Description (Methodology / Technical Approach):

Both BrailleNet/INSERM, RNIB and EBU will participate in the elaboration of this forum, which will take place using a regular electronic mailing list and a set of web pages. The responsibilities of the user organizations in this activity is to make sure the end-users are represented and actively participate in all the phase of the projects. W3C will also participate in managing this forum and keeping consistent and synchronize it with its existing set of forum. Additional users organizations (gathering disabilities other than visually impaired) will be asked to join this forum as the project moved forward.


D1, D2, D3: Report on User forum setup and activity (Month 6, 12, 18). Access will be given to the archives and the forum itself to the commission reviewers.

Results and achievement for WP05, at project's completion:

Satisfaction of Objectives: In fulfillment of WP05, WAI established, and then maintained an On-Line User Forum throughout the duration of the project. The User Forum's e-mail address is the WAI Interest Group, at <>. Complete archives of the forum are publicly available on-line at <>.

Reports on the status of this forum were made to the Commission following Month 6 and Month 12, constituting deliverables D1 and D2 of WP05. A summary report of the User Forum's activity follows below, constituting deliverable D3 of WP05. A parallel activity, a User Review Campaign, was conducted to complement the work of the On-Line User Forum, and constitutes an additional deliverable, D4, under WP05.

WPO5, D3, On-Line User Forum: The forum became the leading international on-line forum for discussing issues of Web accessibility, and developed a strong European involvement. Participation ranged between 300 and 400 subscribers, with traffic averaging over 500 messages per quarter over the WAI-DE duration of January 1998 to June 1999. Out of a total of 28 countries represented on the mailing list, European subscription included participants from 13 European Union countries (all except Austria and Luxemborg):

The User Forum also became an indispensable mechanism for obtaining public feedback on WAI's work and for recruiting diverse participation into WAI activities. Over the course of the project's duration, the user forum responded to twelve calls for review of updated drafts of WAI deliverables, including reviews of these documents:

The forum also responded to calls for participation for the following working groups:

The forum discussed a multitude topics, ranging from technical, to educational, to policy perspectives, for example:

In addition to its on-line communication, representatives from the User Forum met face-to-face six times during the duration of the project (including a meeting in July, 1999). Minutes from these meetings are available:

WP05, D4: User Review Campaign: An additional deliverable was conducted under WP05, by the subcontractors of INRIA, with a French specificity. This section details the method and findings of the review campaign.

Between October 1998 and February 1999, BrailleNet users conducted an experiment with direct reviewing and reporting of Web site accessibility problems, primarily in France. The study involved reviews of 111 Web sites, and has been described in a paper presented at the AAATE Conference in Düsseldorf, Germany, in November 1999. A summary follows:

Methodology: Reviewers chose Web sites in several categories, including on-line newspapers, radio, and television channels; national and international organizations; public services; culture; education; leisure; and disability-related Web sites. Accessibility of those 111 Web sites was evaluated according to W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. An evaluation with the help of the tool Bobby was not possible because at that time each page in the sites would have to have been tested separately; moreover some accessibility problems cannot be evaluated automatically. Two different browsers were used for the evaluation: Internet Explorer 3, with a Braille display and a screen reader; and BrailleSurf, a specialized browser developed by INSERM, with a Braille display and a speech synthesiser.

Findings: In summary, of the 111 sites, approximately 20% were found to be completely accessible, 20% rather accessible, 40% not very accessible, and 20% not accessible at all. The degree of accessibility of the sites was found to be unrelated to the category in which they belonged, but rather to the design approaches used by the Web site developer.

Several points stood out:

The analysis of the 111 Web sites showed an on-going need to inform Web site designers so that the WAI recommendations can be better taken into account. As a result, letters were sent to Webmasters of selected Web sites, to inform them about accessibility problems encountered on their sites. The letters suggested specific design improvements, with pointers to the WAI Web site, so that they might test accessibility of their sites and find information on how to improve accessibility of their sites. The letters resulted in dialog and cooperation from some of the webmasters contacted. The table in Appendix 5.4 shows the results of the letter actions and the list of sites reviewed.

This User Review Campaign and follow-up, initially based in France, has provided the foundation on which WAI is currently developing an international project which will expand resources for reviewing accessibility of Web sites, and communication and coordination with a greater number of webmasters. 

4. Conclusions and Plans for the Future

As summarized in this report, WAI-DE completed all scheduled deliverables with the exception of areas where deferrements or exchanges with other deliverables were discussed with the project officer. In some cases such as with Education and Outreach, those replacements resulted in completion of an increased number of deliverables beyond what was originally planned. The deliverables produced are being used frequently and are generating the demand for additional materials to supplement these.

Given the rate at which new Web technologies are being developed, however, and the increasing size of the Web community meaning an ever-increasing community needing education on Web accessibility, there is still more work to be done. We have therefore proposed to continue the European WAI activities under the fifth framework (IST), with a focus on advanced education and tools work needed for Web accessibility in Europe.

In particular, we believe that a systematic Web site review process needs to be organized under the auspices of WAI, involving country-specific evaluation teams with international coordination, together with the creation of a "showcase" gallery of accessible sites.

The need for additional work on advanced tools comes from the recognition that, since some of the Web is  today not yet accessible , therefore we need to develop practical measures to provide access to those Web sites that cannot or will not improve.

Finally, we believe that a continuing close collaboration between Web technology developers, content providers, users, researchers, and government representatives is beneficial to developing high-quality and consensus-based solutions for Web accessibility. The World Wide Web Consortium provides an excellent forum in which to bring these parties together, enabling them to help meet the needs of people with disabilities in Europe, toward a user-friendly information society for all.

5. Contact details

Identification information for Project:

Project Number Acronym - Title
DE4105 WAI WAI - Web Accessibility Initiative
Lead sector Programme Project Duration in Months
Disabled&Elderly Telematics Applications 18


Name of Institution/Organisation City + Postal Code Region1 Country 2
INRIA as World Wide Web Consortium  (W3C) 78153

Le Chesnay Cedex

Ile de France



Contact person for the Coordinating Contractor:

First Name, Name
Dr Daniel Dardailler Address: INRIA/W3C
2004 Route des Lucioles 06902 Sophia-Antipolis FRANCE
Tel: +33 4 92 38 79 83 Fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
E-mail 1:   E-mail 2:

Other Contractors:

Participants Code3 Name of Institution/Organisation City
+ Postal Code
Region1 Country 2
C 2 ICS/



GR 71110

Kriti GR

Participants list:

Participant's Institution/Organisation Participant's Short Name Country + Postal Code.
World Wide Web Consortium W3C FR 06902
INSERM/BrailleNet INS-BN FR 75252
European Blind Union EBU FR 75007
Royal National Institute for the Blind RNIB GB PE26XU
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas, Institute of Computer Science FORTH/ICS GR 71110
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche CNR IT 00185

Number of Participants

Number of Contractors (including Co-ordinator) 2
Number of Associated Contractors 0
Number of Subcontractors 4
Total Number of Participants 6

Descriptions of contractors and subcontractors:

World Wide Web Consortium

The W3C was founded in October 1994 to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. W3C is an international industry consortium, jointly hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] in the United States; the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique [INRIA] in Europe; and the Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan. The Consortium is led by Tim Berners-Lee, Director and creator of the World Wide Web, and Jean-François Abramatic, Chairman. W3C is funded by Member organizations (around 280 in August 1998), and is vendor neutral, working with the global community to produce specifications and reference software that is made freely available throughout the world.

W3C produces Recommendations, documents often called "W3C standards," that define and evolve the core languages and protocols of the Web: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), etc. Additional services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; specifications and reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology.

W3C's main site is at

INSERM/BrailleNet (BN) Backgrounder

BrailleNet is a French consortium whose mission is to promote the Internet for social, professional, and school integration of visually impaired people. Its objectives are to improve Internet access for visually impaired people, to develop pilot Web site containing specific services, to explore tele-working and education through Internet and disseminate result of work to end-users.

The BrailleNet consortium comprises INSERM (French National Institute on Medical Research), EUROBRAILLE (first maker of Braille terminals), AFEI (specialized in the formation of visually impaired people), CNEFEI (specialized in the formation of teachers), ANPEA (National Association of Parents of Visually Impaired Children), FAF (Federation of Blind and Visually Impaired in France).

BrailleNet 's Web site is at

European Blind Union (EBU) Backgrounder

EBU is a non-governmental and non-profit making European organisation, founded in 1984. It is the principal organisation representing the interests of blind and partially sighted people in Europe with membership made up of organisations of and for visually impaired (VI) people in 43 European countries. EBU has formal consultative status as the co-ordinating NGO for the visual impairment sector on the European Disability Forum in Brussels.

The EBU Web site is at:

Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) Backgrounder

RNIB is the largest organisation in the UK looking after the needs of visually impaired people, with over 60 services. Current reappraisal of its work has led to services being increasingly considered in terms of supplying the needs of visually-impaired people at every stage of their lives and in various aspects. The organisation employs around 2500 people based throughout the UK, of whom 7% are visually-impaired. RNIB has already been involved as a partner in the CAPS (136/218) and Harmony (1226) projects.

RNIB's Web site is

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (ICS/FORTH) Backgrounder

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH, Greece), is a centre for research and development monitored by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Technology (General Secretariat of Research and Technology) of the Greek Government. The Institute of Computer Science, one of the seven institutes of FORTH, conducts applied research, develops applications and products, and provides services. Current R&D activities focus on information systems, software engineering, parallel architectures and distributed systems, computer vision and robotics, digital communications, network management, machine learning, decision support systems, formal methods in concurrent systems, computer architectures and VLSI design, computer aided design, medical information systems, human-computer interaction, and rehabilitation tele-informatics. ICS-FORTH has a long research and development tradition in the design and development of user interfaces that are accessible and usable by a wide range of people, including disabled and elderly people. It has recently proposed the concept, and provided the technical framework for the development of unified user interfaces, that are adaptable to the abilities, requirements and preferences of the end user groups.

ICS/FORTH 's Web site is at

National Research Council (CNR) Backgrounder

The National Research Council (CNR, Italy) is a government research organisation (staff of about 7000), which is involved in activities addressing most disciplinary sectors (physics, chemistry, medicine, agriculture, etc), in cooperation with universities and industry (one of its tasks being the transfer of innovations to production and services).

CNR's Web site is at

6. Management Tables/Workpackage Information

Overview of Work-packages and Contractor/Subcontractor Participation:

The project started in January 1998. It had a duration of 18 months and comprised 5 Work Packages, on which the following contractors and subcontractors worked:

The Overall cost of the project was 660,000 ECU (672,000 originally asked). The European Commission contribution was 100% of these costs (support/accompanying action). The original project proposal is available online at the URL

Overview of Work-package Timing:

Title Lead
WP01 Project Management W3C 9 01 18 WP01.1-5
WP02 Education/Awareness W3C 16.75 04 15 WP02.1-3
WP03 Rating/Certification W3C 16.25 01 18 WP03.1-5
WP04 Standardisation ICS 16.5 01 18 WP04.1-3
WP05 Users Forum W3C 5.5 06 18 WP05.1-4

WP01: Project Management

WP01 ID Work Package TITLE: Project Management  
W3C START t0 END t0+18 DUR 18
TOTAL Person/month 9 TOTAL KECU     106

Resources allocated:

Work entailed:

WP02: Education and Awareness

WP02 ID Work Package TITLE: Education/Awareness  
W3C START T0+3 END t0+15 DUR 12
TOTAL Person/month 16.75 TOTAL KECU  



Resources allocated:

Work entailed:

WP03: Evaluation & Repair Tools

Work Package TITLE: Evaluation & Repair Tools  
W3C START t0 END t0+18 DUR 18
TOTAL Person/month 13.25 TOTAL KECU  



Resources allocated:

Work entailed:

The programming work was mostly done by W3C/INRIA and the sub-contractors (BN, EBU, RNIB) participated in the alpha and beta testing phases of the table linearizer, the PICS system and the report tool.

The charter for the ER group was co-developed by all partners, including requirements from the user organizations represented by the sub-contractors.

WP04: Standardisation

Work Package TITLE: Standardization


TOTAL Person/month 16.5 TOTAL KECU  



Resources Allocated:

Work entailed:

All work in this area was done by FORTH and CNR.

WP05: User Forum

Work Package TITLE: User Forum


W3C START t0+6 END t0+18 DUR 12
TOTAL Person/month 6 TOTAL KECU 



Resources allocated:

Work entailed:

Deliverables Table

This table represents the list of deliverables of the project and the status within the final package:
Deliverable ID Title Type
D1.1 Project Reference Guide 5 copies printed
D1.2,3,4 Interim Reports Online deliverables, not copied in final package appendices
D1.5 Final Report 5 copies printed (this document, Modified version)
D2.1 List of presentation/seminars in Europe 5 copies printed
D2.2 Accessibility Modules for Authoring Tools -- Demonstration of Web Site Retrofit for Accessibility 5 copies of printed slides and Web pages (live version on CD-ROM and online)
D2.3.A "Web Sites That Work" Video 5 copies of PAL VHS tape
D2.3.B Policies Relating to Web Accessibility - European Coverage 5 printed copies
D2.3.C Events calendar - European Coverage 5 printed copies
D2.3.D BrailletNet leaflet (in English French, German, Spanish) 5 printed copies of each
D2.3.E Alternative Browser Reference links 5 printed copies
D2.3.F ERCIM CD-ROM - WAI Section 5 copies of CD-ROM (already delivered)
D2.3.G Localization of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG in French, German, Norwegian, Swedish) 5 printed copies of each
D2.3.H Localization of WAI QuickTips (in French, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Norwegian, Swedish, Finish, Danish, Dutch, and German) 5 printed copies of each set of 10 languages
D3.1 Exploratory PICS Rating System 5 copies of printed PICS file + UI
D3.2 Charter for Evaluation & Repair Tools Group 5 printed copies
D3.3 Web Accessibility Reporting Form 5 copies of printed Web page (live version on CD-ROM and online)
D3.4 Table linearizer 5 copies of software (already delivered in CD-ROM)
D3.5 Specification for Textual Equivalents 5 printed copies
D4.1,2,3 Standardisation guidelines 5 printed copies
D5.4 User Review Campaign 5 printed copies



The Project WAI-DE (Web Accessibility Initiative - Disabled and Elderly sector) has been supported by the European Commission under the auspices of the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS Programme.

Telematics Applications Programme


Further information on the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS Programme:

You can obtain more information on the projects of the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS Programme from:

European Commission, DG XIII, C/1
TELEMATIC APPLICATIONS Programme Information desk
Rue de la Loi 200 - BU 29 - 04/05
B - 1049 Brussels
Fax: +32 2 295 23 54

Or on the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS Programme Home Page: