W3C Web Standard Defines Accessibility for Next Generation Web
Collaborative Effort Results in More Flexible and Testable Standard; Advances Accessibility of the Web
http://www.w3.org/ -- 11 December 2008 -- Today W3C announces a new standard that will help Web designers and developers create sites that better meet the needs of users with disabilities and older users. Drawing on extensive experience and community feedback, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 improve upon W3C's groundbreaking initial standard for accessible Web content.
This new standard from the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) will advance accessibility across the full range of Web content (such as text, images, audio, and video) and Web applications. WCAG 2.0 can be more precisely tested, yet it allows Web developers more flexibility and potential for innovation. Together with supporting technical and educational materials, WCAG 2.0 is easier to understand and use.
WCAG 2.0 addresses barriers to accessing the Web experienced by people with visual, auditory, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities, and by older Web users with accessibility needs. WCAG 2.0 explains how to make content:
- Perceivable (for instance by addressing text alternatives for images, captions for audio, adaptability of presentation, and color contrast);
- Operable (by addressing keyboard access, color contrast, timing of input, seizure avoidance, and navigability);
- Understandable (by addressing readability, predictability, and input assistance); and
- Robust (for instance by addressing compatibility with assistive technologies).
Wide Support for WCAG 2.0
"Because WCAG 2.0 applies to all Web technologies, it can help ensure that the Web stays open to people with disabilities even as we continually introduce new technologies. We incorporated feedback from thousands of comments received during the development of WCAG 2.0 regarding user needs, and technical feasibility," said Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden, Co-Chair of WCAG Working Group, and Director of the Trace R&D Center at the University of Wisconsin. "WCAG 2.0 represents the outcome of a major collaborative effort, and its final form is widely supported by industry, disability organizations, research and government. This balance is important in order for WCAG 2.0 to serve as a unifying international standard for Web accessibility."
Extensive supporting materials to help developers and policy-makers include WCAG 2.0 at a Glance; WCAG 2.0 Documents; How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A Customizable Quick Reference; Understanding WCAG 2.0; and Techniques for WCAG 2.0. Techniques are already available for HTML, CSS, SMIL, Scripting, and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA), and are under development for additional Web technologies. Resources to support transition include How to Update Your Web Site to WCAG 2.0. Essential Components of Web Accessibility describes the relationship between WCAG 2.0 and other Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines that also have 2.0 versions under development.
“Web accessibility helps us reach a broader audience by supporting access to the Web for people with disabilities, as well as increasing usability across a variety of mobile devices,” explained Loretta Guarino Reid, Co-Chair of WCAG WG, and Google Accessibility Engineer. “The Web community helped us demonstrate successful use of WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.0 test procedures in diverse types of Web technologies, Web content, interactive applications, and natural languages. These trial implementations also show the continuity between WCAG 1.0 and 2.0, as most Web sites that conformed to WCAG 1.0 did not need significant changes to meet WCAG 2.0."
While WCAG 1.0 was adopted widely, there is even broader interest in adoption of WCAG 2.0 by organizations and governments worldwide. The Policy for Authorized W3C Translations is expected to facilitate direct adoption in local languages.
"In the recently passed United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, access to information and communications technologies is for the first time recognized internationally as a human right," according to George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium. "WCAG 2.0 will help to make access to information a reality around the world."
Current and recent participants in the WCAG Working Group include Adobe, AOL, Google, IBM, International Webmasters Association/HTML Writers' Guild, Microsoft, NIST, SAP, and Vision Australia, and individual Invited Experts from research, disability, government and standards organizations in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States. In addition, the extensive public review process resulted in comments from hundreds of organizations and individuals around the world.
About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
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 and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has seventeen outreach offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org
About the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) works with organizations around the world to make the Web more accessible for people with disabilities and older users. WAI pursues Web accessibility by ensuring that Web technologies support accessibility; developing guidelines for Web content, browsers and media players, and authoring tools; developing resources to support improved evaluation tools; developing resources for education and outreach; and coordinating with research and development efforts that can affect future accessibility of the Web. WAI is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the European Commission's Information Society Technologies Programme, HP, IBM, Microsoft Corporation, SAP, and Wells Fargo. For more information see http://www.w3.org/WAI/
Testimonials for WCAG 2.0 Recommendation
English: Access Board | Adobe | American Association of People with Disabilities | ANEC | Boeing | CTIC Foundation | Deque | Disability Rights Fund | European Commission for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities | European Commission for Information Society and Media | European Disability Forum | G3ICT | Hitachi | HP | IBM | Innovimax | INSTAC | International Webmasters' Association / HTML Writers' Guild | Internet Society (ISOC) | Microsoft | Mitsue-Links | National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) | SAP | Trace R&D Center | UNESCO | Vision Australia
Español: Fundación CTIC
The U.S. Access Board congratulates the World Wide Web Consortium for finalizing version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Four years ago at an International Workshop on Accessibility Requirements in Brussels, Belgium, Marc Guthrie, an Access Board public member said, "We agree that what is needed are clear, consensus driven, testable, and reliable accessibility requirements. In this world of global scales, it is critical that accessibility requirements be harmonized throughout the world." Version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines goes a long way toward promoting this goal of global harmonization of accessibility requirements. The Access Board hopes to further the goal in its rulemaking to update its section 508 standards in the coming year.— David M. Capozzi, Executive Director, U.S. Access Board
Adobe welcomes the release of WCAG 2.0 and is committed to supporting WCAG 2.0 in our web-related products and technologies. We will provide best practices for developers and designers who want to create conforming content and applications using Adobe contributed formats such as PDF and Adobe Flash technologies, as well as for those who are using Adobe authoring tools to generate content in other accessible Web formats, such as HTML and XHTML. Additionally, we will continue to drive and support accessible open specifications and standards through participation in W3C as well other venues, such as our work with PDF in ISO, and the open source Flex framework for Web and desktop applications.— Dave McAllister, Director of Standards, Adobe Systems
American Association of People with Disabilities
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) welcomes the completion of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). People with disabilities need access to the Web for all aspects of their lives, and especially in today's economy, for access to education, employment, and health care. With the accessibility guidance and solutions in WCAG 2.0, businesses, government, and the non-profit community all have the technical guidance available to ensure that their Web sites no longer exclude people with disabilities. AAPD encourages the broad use and promotion of WCAG 2.0, and encourages the Web Accessibility Initiative's further work to also make browsers and authoring tools accessible.— Andrew Imparato, President and CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities
ANEC welcomes publication of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a W3C Recommendation. We have supported and contributed to the development of the guidelines during their development. ANEC believes WCAG 2.0 represents a landmark achievement in helping to enable people with disabilities and older people to access web content. W3C must be congratulated on its work in bringing the digital age to consumers of all ages and abilities.— Stephen Russell, Secretary-General, ANEC: the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation
Web accessibility is a goal for Boeing, and W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 has been our primary standard toward achieving that goal. Boeing applauds the W3C's disciplined WCAG 2.0 focus over several years to resolve issues with WCAG 1.0, to specify testable goals, and to develop a systematic template for presenting the depth and breadth of this information. We are also grateful for the hard work towards increased harmonization between the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and those from other organizations-especially with regard to Section 508 of the (American) Rehabilitation Act. We plan to rely upon WCAG 2.0 as we continue to improve the accessibility of Boeing's Web sites and services.— David Weitz, Senior Manager, Corporate Web Team, Boeing
Fundación CTIC thanks the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) for their work developing the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. CTIC has supported this work not only by participating in the WAI Technical Activity, but also through our daily work. This includes the creation of tools that help in the development of a more inclusive Web, such as TAW, our free tool to validate web resources against different criteria including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Our commitment is not only to keep on participating in WAI actively, but to increase our efforts and to help W3C in their mission of extending the Web's benefits to all people.— Carlos de la Fuente, Chief Technology Officer, CTIC Foundation (Information & Communication Technology Centre)
I'd like to congratulate the WCAG 2.0 Working Group for making a significant advance in defining the right way to do Web accessibility. We see the comprehensive nature of the guidelines and the emphasis on testable techniques furthering Deque's mission on ending website discrimination. Deque is pleased to once again have had the opportunity to work closely with the working group in refining the specification. We look forward to finalizing our WCAG 2.0 test version and releasing a generally available version of Worldspace with WCAG 2.0 support in the near future.— Preety Kumar, CEO, Deque Systems, Inc.
Disability Rights Fund
The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) supports country-level organizations of people with disabilities in the Global South and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union in helping to realize the goals of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Accessibility of information and communications technologies (ICT) is a fundamental right for persons with disabilities. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is an important part of ensuring that barriers to full participation in social, economic and political life are addressed. Two-thirds of all persons with disabilities live in the developing world, where ICT utilization is growing rapidly. Guidelines such as these are vital in making sure that as growth in technology transforms systems, people with disabilities are full participants.— Diana Samarasan, Director, Disability Rights Fund
European Disability Forum
The web pervades everyone's life; when websites are accessible, people with disabilities can access information, communicate with their peers, receive education, look for jobs or take part in leisure on more equal terms with others than ever before. By giving clear technical specifications to website designers, and unifying web-accessibility standards, WCAG 2.0 directly benefits users who have accessibility needs due to disabilities. It represents a crucial tool with which to build a better and more inclusive web.— Yannis Vardakastanis, President, European Disability Forum (EDF)
European Commission for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
As Commissioner responsible for disability policies in the European Union, I welcome the publication of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This supports the further development of accessible websites in Europe. It is essential for persons with disabilities to be included in society and to participate on equal terms with others. Promoting access to the Internet is an obligation emerging from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been signed by the European Community and all the Member States. The European Commission is committed to rapid and effective implementation of the UN Convention. The new WCAG 2.0 will help us to do so.— Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities at the European Commission
European Commission for Information Society and Media
I welcome these new web accessibility guidelines. They are a key step forward to making the web a place for all, particularly for people with disabilities. The European Commission's Communication 'Towards an Accessible Information Society' of 1 December 2008 anticipated these guidelines by calling upon Member States to prepare for the rapid and coordinated incorporation of new web accessibility specifications. I expect that the Member States can now respond quickly to the Commission's call for action.— Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media at the European Commission
WCAG 2.0 creates the foundation for a new level of standardization of web accessibility around the world. Its practical and well documented guidelines will allow web participants in many countries to evolve from a disparate set of practices to a unified approach to web accessibility for all, as demonstrated by early commitments by major regional and national institutions. WCAG 2.0 fulfills one of the most important promises of the Digital Accessibility dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It stands at the forefront of standardization efforts to make Information and Communication Technologies accessible to all. W3C-WAI’s tireless and successful outreach to web participants around the world deserves the sincere appreciation of our global community.— Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict, United Nation Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs
Hitachi, Ltd. is pleased that WCAG 2.0 has become a W3C Recommendation. We are convinced that WCAG 2.0 enables older people and people with different types of disabilities to use Web content easily, thanks to the new supporting resources for Web developers from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). We have contributed to W3C activities and improved Web content accessibility. In addition, we have provided Japanese translations of WAI-ARIA documents on our Web site (http://www.hitachi.co.jp/universaldesign/wai-aria/index.html), since WAI-ARIA can be used in supporting techniques for implementation of WCAG 2.0.— Masahiro Kitano, Chief Strategy Officer, Information & Telecommunication Systems, Hitachi, Ltd.
HP endorses the W3C WCAG 2.0 as a significant step beyond WCAG 1.0, covering a broad range of Web technologies including non-W3C technologies, and addressing accessibility not only for people with disabilities but also for older users with age-related limitations.
The WCAG 2.0 provides detailed techniques for Web developers promoting more precise testing, and will be instrumental in helping HP continue our commitment to making technology and information easier to access and simpler to use.— Michael Takemura, HP - Director, Accessibility & Aging Program Office
IBM is pleased to endorse the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0. Enabling more people to benefit from computing and information resources technology is part of IBM's larger vision of a smarter planet. As a technology innovator, we are excited to have a new Web accessibility standard that addresses today's rapidly evolving Web environment. WCAG 2.0's technology-neutral guidelines supported by explanatory material and techniques provide an excellent framework for enabling accessibility in innovative technologies. We have already begun to incorporate the WCAG 2.0 success criteria into our checklists and our development processes.— Frances West, Director of Human Ability and Accessibility Center, IBM
Innovimax is glad to share the announcements of the new WCAG 2.0, which will dramatically improve the goal of making the Web more accessible. Among the improvements over the 1999's WCAG 1.0 version, we applaud the support of sign language, accessibility of CAPTCHAs, and more the detailed checklist.— Mohamed Zergaoui, CEO, Innovimax
The Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) accessibility working group would like to congratulate W3C on the finalization of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Japanese Web content accessibility guidelines was published as JIS X 8341-3 in 2004. These reflected much of WCAG 1.0, while also addressing Web accessibility problems in Japan. JIS working group worked with the WCAG Working Group since then to develop an internationally harmonized guideline. As a result of this successful collaboration, revision of JIS is in progress to be strictly harmonized with WCAG 2.0. We encourage Web developers and managers to study and implement this new standard, which will advance Web accessibility to a new stage.— Prof. Takayuki Watanabe, Chair of Web content accessibility standards Working Group, INformation technology research and STAndardization Center of Japanese Standards Association
International Webmasters' Association / HTML Writers' Guild
IWA/HWG is very pleased that WCAG 2.0 has become a W3C Recommendation. The finalization of WCAG 2.0 will provide a basis for updating Web accessibility laws around the world to better support people with disabilities using the interactive Web. As a professional association of Web developers, we will promote WCAG 2.0 in public events, and develop education and outreach for our members to help them understand the importance of “Design for All." We will also promote WCAG 2.0 endorsement by local governments, starting with Italy.— Roberto Scano, Project Manager and EMEA Coordinator, International Webmasters Association / HTML Writers Guild International
Internet Society (ISOC)
The Internet Society (ISOC) congratulates W3C on the release of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Open accessibility standards are crucial for enabling access to online services for all users, everywhere. They allow predictability for developers and empower users to make their own choices. Developers should ensure that their sites and services are fully accessible, not as an afterthought, but as an integral part of their designs. Accessibility standards not only help users of different abilities, but open sites and services to a broader audience, across a wider range of platforms. ISOC is confident that WCAG 2.0 will make it easier for everyone to make the most of these benefits.— Lynn St.Amour, President & CEO, Internet Society
Microsoft applauds the good work that has been done by W3C to bring WCAG in line with current Web technologies and provide a path to the future. The structure provides a technology-neutral standard and non-normative techniques for individual technologies that will help it remain relevant as technology advances. We recognize that the bar has been set high and that it may take time for implementers to transition to the new requirements. However, we encourage governments and organizations to adopt the new standard as a best practice. We encourage W3C to continue to collaborate with accessibility standards bodies and policy-makers around the world. We believe that WCAG 2.0 is a great improvement over the current standard and will give Web developers the best opportunity to bring accessible content to all.— Michael Champion, Sr. Program Manager, Connected Systems Interoperability, Microsoft Corporation
Mitsue-Links is pleased that WCAG 2.0 has been officially published as a Recommendation by W3C. WCAG is a vital guideline for web designers and developers to maximize universality of web sites, thus Mitsue-Links has worked with W3C to create this new version. The publication of version 2.0 is a very important step for future growth of the web. Mitsue-Links hopes that many web sites will become more accessible with WCAG 2.0.— Kazuhito Kidachi, General Manager of Research and Development Department, Corporate Director, Mitsue-Links Co.,Ltd.
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH proudly endorses the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. Its release is a significant step toward unifying producers of all types of Web-based materials. Multimedia, rich media and interactivity are essential components of today’s Web. As WCAG 2.0 makes clear, captions, video descriptions and device-independent design are requisite accessibility enhancements to ensure that people with disabilities will not be excluded from important content. WCAG 2.0 will have a great impact on all audiences: history shows that accessible design improves the Web for everyone, not just those with disabilities.— Larry Goldberg, Director of Media Access, WGBH Boston
SAP is pleased to join other distinguished organizations to congratulate W3C for the publication of WCAG 2.0. We particularly welcome W3C's effort in updating the guidelines to reflect the current landscape of Web technologies, since so much of the Web has changed since the previous publication. In fact, SAP has already incorporated much of WCAG 2.0 into our product development standard before its candidate recommendation. The updated guidelines provide much needed guidance to our developers to better address the needs of business professionals with disabilities. SAP is proud to support WCAG 2.0. We encourage all interested entities to accept WCAG 2.0 as today's global benchmark for web accessibility.— Dan Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of User Experience, SAP AG
Trace R&D Center
The Trace R&D Center is pleased with this new W3C Recommendation. Due to its structure, testability and focus on fundamentals, we believe that WCAG 2.0 will serve as a stable foundation for accessible Web content, providing flexibility across the broad range of Web technologies and environments, both today and into the future. Trace has sponsored free tools in support of WCAG 2.0's provisions around seizure prevention, visual contrast and audio contrast and is now co-leading a new initiative based on WCAG 2.0 to ensure that all users, including those with few or no resources, can access tomorrow's Web content and services from anywhere, on any computer.— Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden, Director of the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge is central to UNESCO's mission to help Member States build their human and institutional capacities in education, science, culture, and communication. The Web is one of our most important tools for accomplishing these aims. We welcome the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a means with which to ensure that, as these information sharing capacities evolve in our Member States, they may do so in a way that is inclusive of all members of society, including people with disabilities. We commend the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative on their announcement of WCAG 2.0, and look forward to encouraging its adoption through UNESCO's work around the world.— Dr. Abdul Waheed Khan, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO
Vision Australia strongly supports WCAG 2.0. Vision Australia is committed to improving the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired. We believe that the new guidelines provide critical guidance to developers using current and future technologies to enhance the accessibility of content for all users. This will significantly improve the ability of people who are blind or vision impaired to fully exploit the potential of the web and online services. Vision Australia will work with the W3C-WAI to help ensure these guidelines are adopted world-wide and implemented effectively by the web community.— Brian Hardy - Manager Commercial Development and Consulting Services and W3C AC Representative
Fundación CTIC (Centro Tecnológico de la Información y la Comunicación), agradece a la Iniciativa de Accesibilidad Web (WAI) el trabajo desarrollando en la creación de las nuevas Guías de Accesibilidad para Contenido Web (WCAG 2.0). CTIC ha contribuido a este trabajo no solo participando técnicamente en la Iniciativa WAI, sino también a través de su trabajo cotidiano. Este trabajo ha permitido la creación de herramientas que ayudan en el desarrollo de una Web mas accesible, como TAW (Test de Accesibilidad Web), herramienta de uso libre para validar recursos web frente a diferentes criterios técnicos incluyendo las Pautas de Accesibilidad para Contenido Web. Nuestro compromiso no es solo mantener nuestra participación en la actividad de WAI, sino también incrementar nuestros esfuerzos y colaborar con W3C en su misión para extender los beneficios de la Web a todas las personas.— Carlos de la Fuente, Director de Tecnología. CTIC
Innovimax partage le plaisir d'annoncer la nouvelle version de WCAG 2.0 qui va permettre de promouvoir l'accessibilité du Web. Parmi les nouveautés relativement à la version 1.0 de 1999, il est important de souligner le support du langage des signes, des CAPCHA et une checklist encore plus fournie.— Mohamed Zergaoui, CEO d'Innovimax
INSTACのJIS X 8341-3ワーキンググループは， WCAG 2.0がついにW3Cの勧告となることを歓び申し上げます． 日本では2004年に，WCAG 1.0を考慮したうえで， 日本で顕著なアクセシビリティ問題も含んだガイドラインが， JIS X 8341-3として発行されました． JISワーキンググループはこれらの問題をWCAGワーキンググ ループに提案し， 両ワーキンググループは， 国際的に利用できるガイドラインの実現に努力してきました． JISワーキンググループは， 国際協調の成果であるWCAG 2.0と一致したガイドラインとすべく， JIS X 8341-3の改正作業を進めています． Web制作者や責任者は， WCAG 2.0や改正後のJIS X 8341-3に適合したWebを制作することで， より進化したWebアクセシビリティを実現できるでしょう．— 渡辺隆行, 日本規格協会・情報技術標準化研究センター(INSTAC)・ 情報アクセシビリティ標準化調査研究委員会・WG2主査
株式会社日立製作所は， WCAG2.0がW3C勧告としてリリースされたことを心から歓迎します． WAIによってもたらされるWebコンテンツ制作者のための新しいガイドラインであるWCAG2.0によって， 高齢あるいは障害のある人々がウェブコンテンツを簡単に利用できるようになると， 弊社は確信しています． 弊社は，W3C活動およびウェブアクセシビリティ向上活動の普及に努めていますが， その一環として， WAI-ARIAの日本語訳文書をホームページ(http://www.hitachi.co.jp/universaldesign/wai-aria/index.html)に公開しています． WAI-ARIAは，WCAG2.0を実装するために利用できる技術です．— 北野昌宏，情報・通信グループ CSO，株式会社 日立製作所
株式会社ミツエーリンクスは， WCAG 2.0がW3Cより勧告されたことを大変喜ばしく思います． WCAGはWebデザイナーや開発者にとって， Webサイトのユニバーサル性を最大化するうえで極めて重要なガイドラインであり， ミツエーリンクスはこの新バージョンの開発に向けW3Cに協力してきました． バージョン2.0の勧告は， 今後のWebの発展にとって非常に重要なステップであると考えます． WCAG 2.0と共に， 多くのWebサイトがよりアクセシブルになることを期待します．— 木達一仁，取締役 兼 R&D本部長，株式会社ミツエーリンクス