Referencing and Linking to WAI Guidelines and Technical Documents
In most cases, it is best to link to the Overview page instead of the technical specification because the Overview page provides an introduction, links to related documents, and the status of revisions in progress. Overview pages include:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) Overview http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/atag
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) Overview http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/uaag
- Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) Overview http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/earl
- WAI-ARIA Overview for Accessible Rich Internet Applications http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria
WAI's technical specifications (WCAG, WAI-ARIA, and the others listed above) use a "shortname" in the URI (the Web address); for example, "WCAG" and "ATAG" are shortnames. Specific versions are indicated with a number in the URL. Without a number, you get the latest version.
Latest completed version
To link to the latest completed version, do not include a number. For example:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) http://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG/
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG/
- Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/
- Links: The content at these links will change when new versions are published. New versions will often change the internal links (called fragments, targets, or anchors, e.g., "#focus-area").
- References: When policies do not include a version number, they can be interpreted to reference the latest version.
We recommend that you reference the latest version without a number as explained above, unless there is a reason to reference a specific version. To link to a specific version, include the version number, for example:
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 http://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG20/
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0 http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG20/
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
- Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1 https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-1.1/
Links to the technical specification and the Overview page
Even when linking to the standard, it is usually good to include a link to the Overview page as well. For example:
|URI||Use||Document linked to:||Will the content at this URI change?|
|www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag||For most links about WCAG||WCAG Overview||Yes, content will be updated with new versions, but the fragments/targets/anchors will mostly remain stable|
|www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/||For links to the latest version of the WCAG standard||The latest version of WCAG||Yes, content will change when there are new versions, and fragments/targets/anchors may also change|
|www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/||For links specifically to Version 2.0 of the WCAG technical specification, and not subsequent versions||WCAG Version 2.0||No|
For more formal guidance on referring to WCAG, see Appendix A How to refer to WCAG 2.0 from other documents.
While the standards listed above will not change once they are completed, most of the the supporting material that is advisory will be updated. Supporting technical material is usually published as "W3C Working Group Notes". This includes:
- Techniques for WCAG http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/
- Understanding WCAG http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG/
- WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices 1.1 https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices-1.1/
The content at these URIs will change when they are updated. In most cases, you should not include numbers in these links, so that your links provide the latest information and best practices.
Stable "dated URIs"
In rare cases when you want to link to specific information in a Technique or other Note, and not the latest information, use the "dated URI" that is listed at the top of the main web page under "This version:". For example:
<a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20081211/">Techniques for WCAG 2.0 published 11 December 2008
</a>states that "The WCAG WG encourages submission of such techniques so they can be considered for inclusion in this document...".
"WAI-ARIA" is the formal abbreviation for the Accessible Rich Internet Applications documents. It is now acceptable to use just "ARIA" in informal references.
If you have additional questions, you can contact WAI directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related information is provided in Version Management in W3C Technical Reports (W3C-member-only link).Back to Top