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Accessibility Fundamentals

The following resources provide information for getting started with accessibility:

Introduction to Web Accessibility
Introduces web accessibility and links to additional resources.
Essential Components of Web Accessibility
Shows how web accessibility depends on several components of web development and interaction working together and shows the relationship between the WAI guidelines: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG), and User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG).
Accessibility Principles
Helps developers, designers, and others to understand the principles for creating accessible websites, web applications, browsers, and other web tools. Provides references to the international standards from W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and to stories of web users.
Web Accessibility Perspectives: Explore the Impact and Benefits for Everyone
Videos that demonstrate that web accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for all. Learn about the impact of accessibility and the benefits for everyone in a variety of situations. Each video is about 1 minute, and the compilation is 7:37. Pages include supporting information.
How People with Disabilities Use the Web
Introduces how people with disabilities use the web. Describes tools and approaches that people with different kinds of disabilities use to browse the web and the barriers they encounter due to poor design.
Older Users and Web Accessibility: Meeting the Needs of Ageing Web Users
Explains that designing products that are easier for older people to use is similar to designing for people with disabilities. Guidance on how to make your websites, web applications, and web tools work better for older users is covered in existing international accessibility standards from the W3C, including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion
Explains the distinctions and overlaps between accessibility, usability, and inclusive design; encourages increased coordination across research and practice in these disciplines; and points out the importance of maintaining the focus of accessibility on people with disabilities.

Planning & Policies

The following resources provide guidance for individual project management and for managing accessibility throughout an organization.

Web Accessibility First Aid: Approaches for Interim Repairs
Provides a concise overview with pointers to address the most critical issues. Helps with the situation: “I need to make my website accessible and I don’t even know where to start!”
Planning and Managing Web Accessibility
Describes activities to help you integrate accessibility throughout your organization and projects.
Involving Users in Web Projects for Better, Easier Accessibility
Describes how project managers, designers, and developers can better understand accessibility issues and implement more effective accessibility solutions.

Law and Policy Resources

The resources below help you find existing laws and policies, and develop a policy for your organization.

Web Accessibility Laws and Policies
Lists governmental laws and policies relating to web accessibility in countries and regions around the world.
Developing Organizational Policies on Web Accessibility
Describes considerations when making simple or comprehensive policies for creating, managing, and delivering accessible websites.
Developing an Accessibility Statement
Helps you create an accessibility statement for your own website, mobile application, or other digital content.

Design & Develop

Tips for Getting Started with Web Accessibility

These tips introduce some basic considerations for making your website more accessible to people with disabilities. They provide links to additional guidance.

Writing for Web Accessibility
Tips for writing and presenting content.
Designing for Web Accessibility
Tips for user interface and visual design.
Developing for Web Accessibility
Tips for markup and coding.

Media Resource for Audio and Video

Making Audio and Video Media Accessible
Helps you understand and create captions/subtitles, audio description of visual information, descriptive transcripts, and sign language for media. Includes guidance for creating new videos, and on media player accessibility. Introduces user experiences and benefits to organizations.

Web Accessibility Tutorials

The tutorials provide guidance on how to create components that meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), that are more accessible to people with disabilities, and that provide a better user experience for everyone.

Other Design and Development Resources

How to Meet WCAG (Quick Reference)
A customizable reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements (“success criteria”) and techniques.
WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices
Provides approaches, advice, and examples to help web application developers make widgets, navigation, and behaviors accessible using WAI-ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles, states, and properties.
Developing Websites for Older People: How WCAG Applies
Lists specific WCAG success criteria and techniques that particularly improve accessibility and usability for older people.

Test & Evaluate

When developing or redesigning a website or web application, evaluate accessibility early and throughout the development process to identify accessibility problems early, when it is easier to address them.

There are evaluation tools that help with evaluation. However, no tool alone can determine if a site meets accessibility standards. Knowledgeable human evaluation is required to determine if a site is accessible.

Initial Checks

Even if you don’t know anything about accessibility and you don’t have a robust accessibility tool, you can check some aspects of accessibility.

Easy Checks — A First Review of Web Accessibility
Provides step-by-step guidance and brief explanations for checking some aspects of accessibility.

Tools

Web accessibility evaluation tools are software programs or online services that help determine if web content meets accessibility standards.

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List
Includes information on more than 100 tools. You can use the filters to narrow down the list to the types of tools you are interested in.
Selecting Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools
Provides guidance on choosing tools. It describes the features and functionality of different types of evaluation tools, and discusses things to consider for your situation.

Conformance Evaluation and Reports

Conformance evaluation determines how well web pages or applications meet accessibility standards. W3C’s Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) is an approach for determining conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

WCAG-EM Overview: Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology
A short page with basic information to get you started. We suggest you read it before going to the full WCAG-EM document.
WCAG-EM Report Tool: Website Accessibility Evaluation Report Generator
Helps you generate evaluation reports according to WCAG-EM. It does not do the checking for you. It helps you follow the steps of WCAG-EM and it generates a report from the input you provide.
Template for Web Accessibility Evaluation Reports
Suggests information to include in a report.
ATAG Report Tool
Helps you generate a report on how a tool meets Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). Authoring tools are software and services used to create web content – such as content management systems (CMS) and what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) HTML editors.

Communicate the results of evaluation clearly, including the scope of the evaluation.

People

Getting the right people and skills involved makes your accessibility evaluations more effective.

Involving Users in Evaluating Web Accessibility
Provides guidance on including people with disabilities (“users”) in evaluation throughout project development.
Using Combined Expertise to Evaluate Web Accessibility
Discusses skill sets and considerations for collaborative review.

Standards

Specifications for writing accessibility test rules (ACT Rules Format) and expressing test results (EARL) are introduced in Evaluation Standards Overview.

Teach & Advocate

Training Resources

How to Make Your Presentations Accessible to All
Helps you make presentations, talks, meetings, and training accessible to all of your potential audience, including people with disabilities and others.
Curricula on Web Accessibility: A Framework to Build Your Own Courses
Provides curricula to help you create courses on web accessibility for different roles. It defines learning outcomes, and provides ideas to teach and assess knowledge. The curriculum “Introduction to Web Accessibility” is currently available. Additional curriculum will be available in 2020 and 2021.
Developing Web Accessibility Presentations and Training
Provides materials for speakers, lecturers, educators and other presenters to help their participants understand more about web accessibility. The materials provide a range of information from introductory slides for those new to accessibility, to statistics and demos for experienced trainers. (Note: This content is mostly from 2013. The Curricula links to more recent resources.]
Before and After Demonstration (BAD)
Shows an inaccessible website and a retrofitted version of the same website. Includes annotations that highlight key accessibility barriers and repairs, and evaluation reports for WCAG 2.0.

Advocating Resources

Contacting Organizations about Inaccessible Websites
Encourages telling organizations about accessibility barriers on their website. Provides guidance on identifying key contacts, describing the problem, and following up as needed. Includes tips and sample e-mails.
The Business Case for Digital Accessibility
Examines the rationale for organizations to address accessibility. Includes tangible and intangible benefits, and the risks of not addressing accessibility adequately. Explores how accessibility can drive innovation, enhance your brand, extend market reach, and minimize legal risk.

Standards/Guidelines

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops international Web standards: HTML, CSS, and many more. W3C’s Web standards are called W3C Recommendations.

All W3C standards are reviewed for accessibility support by the Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group.

The W3C standards and Working Group Notes introduced below are particularly relevant to accessibility.

Accessibility Guidelines

Essential Components of Web Accessibility shows how web accessibility depends on several components of web development and interaction working together, and how the WAI guidelines (WCAG, ATAG, UAAG) apply.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Web “content” generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • code or markup that defines structure, presentation, etc.

WCAG applies to dynamic content, multimedia, “mobile”, etc. WCAG can also be applied to non-web information and communications technologies (ICT), as described in WCAG2ICT.

WCAG info:

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG)

Authoring tools are software and services that “authors” (web developers, designers, writers, etc.) use to produce web content. For example: HTML editors, content management systems (CMS), and websites that let users add content, such as blogs and social networking sites. ATAG documents explain how to:

  • make the authoring tools themselves accessible, so that people with disabilities can create web content, and
  • help authors create more accessible web content.

ATAG info:

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)

User agents include browsers, browser extensions, media players, readers, and other applications that render web content.

UAAG info:

Technical Specifications

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)

ARIA provides semantics so authors can convey user interface behaviors and structural information to assistive technologies (such as screen readers). The ARIA specification provides an ontology of roles, states, and properties that define accessible user interface elements.

The ARIA suite includes API mapping specifications that provide user agent implementation guidance. It also include modules for Graphics and Digital Publishing.

ARIA info:

Audio and Video

Evaluation

The following resources support development of accessibility evaluation methods and tools:

Additional resources related to evaluation are listed in the Evaluating Web Accessibility Overview, including:

Personalization

Personalization Overview — Personalization involves tailoring the user experience to meet the needs and preferences of the individual user. Content authors can use personalization standards to provide a default design and enable user personalization with minimal work.

Pronunciation

Pronunciation Overview — Pronunciation is about screen readers and other text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis pronouncing content properly.

Other Areas of W3C WAI work

Additional Information

illustration showing the guidelines for the different components, detailed description at https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/components-desc.html#guide

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