Mobile Accessibility at W3C
More than “Mobile”
“Mobile accessibility” refers to making websites and applications more accessible to people with disabilities when they are using mobile phones and other devices. WAI’s work in this area addresses accessibility issues of people using a broad range of devices to interact with the web, including:
- phones and tablets
- digital TVs
- wearables such as smart watches
- devices in car dashboards and airplane seatbacks
- devices in household appliances
- other “Internet of Things”
It addresses a wide range of issues:
- small screen sizes
- different input modalities, including speech and 3D touch enabled by pressure sensors
- device use in different settings, such as bright sunlight
- and more
W3C WAI Addresses Mobile Accessibility
WAI’s accessibility standards address mobile accessibility:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) covers web pages and web applications, including content used on mobile devices.
- To learn how WCAG 2.0 can be applied to mobile web content, mobile web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps using web components inside native apps, see Mobile Accessibility: How WCAG 2.0 and Other W3C/WAI Guidelines Apply to Mobile.
- A more general resource that also includes mobile apps is WCAG2ICT: Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies.
- WCAG 2.1, published in June 2018, includes new requirements (“success criteria”) addressing mobile accessibility. They are introduced in What’s New in WCAG 2.1.
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) covers web browsers and other “user agents”, including mobile browsers.
- For examples of how web browsers that follow UAAG benefit people with disabilities using the Web on mobile devices, see Mobile Accessibility Examples from UAAG.
- For those wanting to explore the issues more, see Applying UAAG to Mobile Phones.
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guideline (ATAG) covers software used to create web pages and applications, including for mobile.
- WAI-ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) defines ways to make web content more accessible, especially dynamic content and advanced user interface controls. It applies to web applications and to accessing websites with mobile devices.
W3C addresses mobile accessibility. WAI ensures that the core W3C technologies support accessibility, including those that are essential for the mobile web. All W3C work is reviewed for accessibility by WAI’s Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group (APA).
W3C work on mobile includes Mobile Web Application Best Practices and Mobile Web Best Practices. For a summary of technologies developed in W3C that increase the capabilities of web applications and how they apply specifically to the mobile context, see Standards for Web Applications on Mobile.
If you would like to get notification of future work on mobile accessibility at W3C WAI, see Get WAI News.
General information is available in Participating in WAI.
Most of WAI’s work related to mobile accessibility is through the Mobile Accessibility Task Force. If you would like to be more involved in WAI’s work on mobile accessibility, please send an e-mail with information about your interests and time availability to the Task Force facilitators Kim Patch and Kathy Wahlbin with CC to WAI Staff (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About W3C and WAI
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. To learn more, see About W3C.
W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) brings together individuals and organizations from around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. To learn more, see the WAI website.Back to Top