(This post is part of a series recapping the October 2018 W3C Strategic Highlights and does not include significant updates since that report.)
W3C “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1”, which became a W3C Recommendation in June, has been adopted for web content, electronic documents, and non-web software, such as native mobile applications by the three official European Standards Organizations, CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI who published an updated version of EN 301 549 “Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services”. W3C staff involvement fosters continued harmonization of formal and informal European standards with the international technical guidance from W3C.
A billion people in the world have disabilities—one out of every seven—according to the World Report on Disabilities. Helping build accessibility-supporting specifications, guidelines, evaluation and educational materials helps ensure that your own organization is improving access to the Web for people with disabilities.
Learn why accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for all: watch the Video Introduction to Web Accessibility and W3C Standards (4 minutes).
Accessibility activities support W3C’s Web for All mission. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) continues to help ensure a cohesive package of coordinated accessibility activities, distributed throughout the groups and areas of W3C. Notable progress include:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 became a W3C Recommendation. The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group(AG WG) worked on a tight schedule to bring the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 to Recommendation in June 2018, adding more accessibility requirements for people with cognitive and learning disabilities, people with low vision, and increasing coverage for mobile accessibility. Additional information is available in the WCAG 2.1 press release. The AG WG “Silver” Task Force continues to explore stakeholder requirements for post-WCAG 2.1 work on accessibility guidelines. Input is welcome into that discussion, as well as a potential WCAG 2.2 update.
- WCAG 2.1 Conformance Testing. The Accessibility Conformance Testing Task Force continues to update the Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules Format 1.0, and applying it to ACT Rules. ACT provides documented ways for testing web content, to improve inter-rater reliability when evaluating conformance of web content to WCAG 2.0 and eventually 2.1. The ACT Rules Format is scheduled to complete its Candidate Recommendation stage in 2018, to allow open contribution of ACT Rules by different entities.
- Updated materials supporting uptake and implementation of accessibility standards. The Education and Outreach Working Group completed revision and updating of the WAI website, including revising the content of Introduction to Web Accessibility and is currently updating the WAI business case for accessibility.
- Developing ARIA 1.2 and Accessibility API Mappings (AAMs). WAI-ARIA defines roles and properties to make web applications and rich web content more accessible. The ARIA Working Group has published a first public working draft of a suite of ARIA 1.2 resources. The ARIA WG continues to work, or spawn work in other groups, on accessibility API mappings for several technologies including WAI-ARIA, HTML, Graphics and SVG, Digital Publishing, and CSS. Get involved in the ARIA WG to work on ARIA 2.0 next.
- Horizontal reviews and support for W3C Working Groups. The Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) WG continues reviewing all W3C specifications, and following up with W3C groups as needed on accessibility barriers. APA supports accessibility strategy for CSS and Payments, and brings longer-term questions to the Research Questions Task Force (RQTF) which explores authentication, personalization, CAPTCHA, virtual reality, automotive, and internet of things. APA’s Framework for Accessibility in the Specification of Technologies (FAST) Checklist helps specification developers pre-check their specifications for potential accessibility issues early in the development process, with more detailed guidanceavailable.
Accessibility reviewers for W3C specs are always welcome in the APA WG, and the RQTF is looking for industry and user community researchers.