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

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) Overview

For Browsers, Media Players, and other "User Agents"

Page Contents

Quick links:  UAAG 2.0 Working Group Note, UAAG 2.0 Reference, UAAG 2.0 Mobile Examples

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)

The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) documents explain how to make user agents accessible to people with disabilities. User agents include browsers, browser extensions, media players, readers and other applications that render web content. Some accessibility needs are better met in the browser than in the web content, such as text customization, preferences, and user interface accessibility. A user agent that follows UAAG 2.0 will improve accessibility through its own user interface and its ability to communicate with other technologies, including assistive technologies (software that some people with disabilities use to meet their requirements). All users, not just users with disabilities, will benefit from user agents that follow UAAG 2.0.

UAAG is part of a series of accessibility guidelines, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG WG) and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). Essential Components of Web Accessibility explains the relationship between the different guidelines.

Who UAAG is for

UAAG is primarily for developers of Web browsers, browser extensions, media players, readers and other applications that render web content.

UAAG and supporting resources are also intended to meet the needs of many different audiences, including policy makers, managers, and others. For example:

UAAG 2.0

UAAG 2.0 was developed to help make future generations of Web browsers more accessible, to provide alternative information based on the users technology and platform, and to align with WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0. UAAG 2.0 is complete. It provides specific guidance for browsers and other user agents, and reference information for accessibility professionals.

The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (UAWG) has identified implementations of the features ("success criteria") of UAAG 2.0, demonstrating that it is possible to implement the UAAG 2.0 success criteria. The threshold for a specification becoming a formal W3C Recommendation ordinarily involves extensive formal testing of implementations of each success criteria across multiple user agents -- which in the case of UAAG 2.0 would have required manual testing of many browser user interfaces. Sufficient testing resources were not available for this level of testing. W3C does not currently plan to advance UAAG 2.0 to Recommendation status. W3C plans to include user agent accessibility considerations in future accessibility guidelines work.

UAAG 2.0 is still needed and relevant, and may be increasingly relevant in the future. The work of the current task forces for Mobile Accessibility and Low Vision Accessibility show the importance of combined consideration of content, user interface, extensions, applications and user agents. While many of the UAAG 2.0 features are supported in individual browsers, there is a need for more consistent and reliable support for accessibility features across all browsers and user agents. UAAG 2.0 provides specific accessibility guidance for user agent developers who want to build a better user experience for all.

We recommend that you use UAAG 2.0.

UAAG 2.0 Supporting Documents

UAAG 2.0 Reference: Explanations, Examples, and Resources for User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 provides supporting information for those using UAAG 2.0. Each UAAG 2.0 success criterion is explained with the intent of the success criterion, examples, additional resources, where it is typically implemented and what aspect of the user agent it applies to.

The Mobile Accessibility Examples are a subset of the UAAG 2.0 Reference. These examples (or use cases) highlight how UAAG can help people with disabilities who are using mobile devices.

UAAG 1.0

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 was approved in December 2002

Who develops UAAG

UAAG technical documents are developed by the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (UAWG), which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). For more information about the working group, see the UAWG page. The UAWG is closed as of January 2016.

How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process: Milestones and Opportunities to Contribute describes formal periods for public review. Opportunities for review and comment of WAI documents are announced on the WAI home page and WAI Interest Group mailing list. An email address for sending comments is included in the "Status of this Document" section.

Opportunities for contributing to UAAG and other WAI work are introduced in Participating in WAI.