XML News from Monday, May 21, 2007

The W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has updated three working drafts covering various topics:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

"Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) covers a wide range of issues and recommendations for making Web content more accessible. This document contains principles, guidelines, and success criteria that define and explain the requirements for making Web-based information and applications accessible. 'Accessible' means usable to a wide range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning difficulties, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech difficulties, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also make your Web content more accessible to the vast majority of users, including older users. It will also enable people to access Web content using many different devices - including a wide variety of assistive technologies."

This draft is in last call. Comments are due by May 31.

Understanding WCAG 2.0

This draft "provides detailed information about each success criterion, including its intent; the key terms that are used in the success criterion; examples of Web content that meet the success criterion using various Web technologies (for instance, HTML, CSS, XML) and common examples of Web content that does not meet the success criterion. Finally, this document also explains how the success criteria in WCAG 2.0 help people with different types of disabilities."

Techniques for WCAG 2.0

This document "provides information to Web content developers who wish to satisfy the success criteria of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). Techniques are specific authoring practices that may be used in support of the WCAG 2.0 success criteria. This document provides 'General Techniques' that describe basic practices that are applicable to any technology, and technology-specific techniques that provide information applicable to specific technologies. Currently, technology-specific techniques are available for HTML, CSS, ECMAScript, SMIL, ARIA, and Web servers. The World Wide Web Consortium only documents techniques for non-proprietary technologies; the WCAG Working Group hopes vendors of other technologies will provide similar techniques to describe how to conform to WCAG 2.0 using those technologies. Use of the techniques provided in this document makes it easier for Web content to demonstrate conformance to WCAG 2.0 success criteria than if these techniques are not used." This document also describes common failure modes where the web content accessibility guidelines are violated.

There's a lot of good information here. These should really be required reading for all HTML authors and web designers. The Techniques spec is probably the most practical, and where most readers should start.