Web Standards

Since I am a web accessibility analyst, I have the good fortune of being mobility impaired.  Of course, I only can say this regarding my work.  It is like being a veterinarian and not having pets.  Without the personal experience, you couldn’t empathize with the pets’ guardians.  You wouldn’t observe subtle, unique signs that a dog or cat is not feeling well.

On April 29, 2013 the FCC adopted released a Commission Document regarding Accessible Internet Browsers on Mobile Phones: “In this Second Report and Order, we implement section 718 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), 1 which was added by section 104 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA)2 to ensure that people with disabilities have access to emerging and innovative advanced communications technologies.”


Section 718 now requires mobile phone manufacturers and service providers to include accessible internet browsers when browsers are provided on the device.  There is overlap in the Section 718 and Section 718 requirements for accessible internet browser.  Additionally this document is an affirmation “that Internet browsers used for Advanced Communication Services (ACS), that are installed or included by ACS equipment manufacturers or providers, are software subject to section 716 of the Act.4.”

This reinforces work already done for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendment.  As browsers and web sites have been working to make the World Wide Web accessible to all users, there is now added strength to take the goal full circle to include ACS – otherwise known as smart phones and tablets and whatever wonderful new gadget is being invented in someone’s garage right now to carry the world in your pocket.

According to Cornell University, in 2011 there was an estimated 14,144,300 (4.9%) people in the United States with a cognitive disability.  Broadly speaking, intellectual disabilities pertain to difficulties with memory; problem-solving:  attention, reading, linguistic, and verbal comprehension; math comprehension; and visual comprehension. Intellectual disabilities range from mild, moderate or severe and many people have one or more intellectual disability.

The W3C HTML Working Group published Using WAI-ARIA in HTML today. This document is a practical guide to help developers add accessibility information to HTML elements to help make dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, and JavaScript understandable to users with disabilities.

For more information, see:

Microsoft joined the European Disability Forum (EDF) in Brussels to discuss how the business, government and private sectors can contribute to making web accessibility a staple in Europe. Among the initiatives that already are underway include:

  • The goal of making 100% of public websites accessible
  • Accessibility resources available on the Microsoft website
  • A Web Accessibility Handbook for European countries
  • A guide for governments on how to resolve accessibility issues
  • Schipol Treaty, an agreement among Dutch companies to prompt change regarding Internet accessibility

To read more about the Microsoft-Europe collaboration, go to Making progress on web accessibility across Europe.

Here is an upbeat (literally) concise video on web accessibility.  In three minutes and twenty seven seconds the folks down under (Australia - Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) have put together a big band introduction/reminder of what web accessibility is:

  • Universality – think about and expand your audience
  • Legal Requirement
  • Everyone’s Responsibility
  • Easy – structure, alternatives

“What you do at the start makes it easier in the end.”

Yes, an audio version is also downloadable.

Interactive Accessibility's accessibility expert, Kathy Wahlbin, will be teaching a class at Colorado State University.  The course is listed as SPECIAL TOPICS IN TECHNOLOGY, ARTS, AND MEDIA: UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR DIGITAL MEDIA, ATLS 3519-58

To register please go to CU Continuing Education (under ATLAS program).

Spring 2013 Schedule: Jan. 20 – May 3, 2013

Course Description

Many web and media designers believe that the design process begins and ends with information architecture and visual design. Although these elements are important, other factors are equally if not more crucial for the design of successful web sites and other digital media. This course will examine the standards and methods for designing digital material that is not only accessible for persons with disabilities – a particularly important requirement for the web sites of public entities – but also effective and usable for all users and across platforms.

Course Scope

This course will review standards for usability and accessibility, focusing on the concepts of universal design, web standards and accessibility best practices. Resources and texts from media design experts such as Donald A. Norman, Wendy Chisholm, Derek Featherstone and Jeffrey Zeldman will be complemented with online resources and materials. Topics to be covered include (x)html standards, structured coding procedures, semantic web design, user-centered design, and validation tools, among others. There may be occasional live lectures and guest speakers – delivered through web conferencing but taped for later and repeat viewing, as needed by students. Students will complete weekly assignments and follow the overall schedule of the course through the semester.


Howard Kramer

Mr. Kramer has been an Access Specialist at CU-Boulder and coordinator for the Accessing Higher Ground Conference for the past 15 years.

Kathy Wahlbin

Ms. Wahlbin is a Web accessibility consultant, founder of Interactive Accessibility and an ADA,  Section 508 and W3C WCAG accessibility expert.


Boston, MA - The Interactive Media Awards™ presented the IMA Best in Class award (2012) to La Cresha Grayson of Southern California Edison for the SCE e-SMARTkids Website, in the category, “Energy.” Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder of Interactive Accessibility, served as accessibility consultant for the project.

IMA Winner 2012 Best in ClassThe Interactive Media Awards™ recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. Created by the Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC), a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the competition is designed to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet and offer winners a boost in marketing and exposure. IMC serves as the primary sponsor and governing body of the Interactive Media Awards™, establishes the judging system and provides the judges for the competition

“We are very honored and excited to win this prestigious award. We believe that everyone should have access to the web and we take a lot of pride in designing creative, interesting, professional but fully accessible sites. When websites are not made accessible 20% of the population can struggle to access your content. This award validates our efforts and proves a site can be beautifully designed and still fully accessible. ” Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder of Interactive Accessibility.

The creative team for this project consisted of:

  • Wendy Ellyn, Content Director, Culver Company
  • Chris Shanelaris, Creative Director, Culver Company
  • Anne Rothwell, Website Designer, Culver Company
  • Kate Van Dine, Project Manager , Culver Company
  • Kathy Wahlbin, Accessibility Consultant, Interactive Accessibility


Today, WCAG 2.0 is formally recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an ISO/IEC JTC 1 Standard.  ISO is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards and is a network of the national standards institutes of some 164 countries as of July 2012.

For more information, see:

ISO/IEC 40500:2012

The content of ISO/IEC 40500 is freely available from the W3C WAI website and is also available for purchase from the ISO catalog.  Note: this is exactly the same content and there are no differences.  The WCAG 2.0 guidelines will continue to be published for free. 

The WCAG 2.0 guidelines covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content accessible. The approval of WCAG 2.0 as an ISO standard allows countries and organizations more easily adopt the guidelines.  Judy Brewer, Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at W3C notes, "The ISO/IEC imprimatur increases the avenues for adoption of W3C technology and guidelines.  In some countries, policies require that nationally adopted technical standards must be ISO/IEC. Formal approval by JTC 1 of WCAG 2.0 will increase deployment, reduce fragmentation, and provide all users with greater interoperability on the web."

Supporting resources from W3C:

New accessible gaming development guide and companion website from the AbleGamers Foundation designed to explain the options and control mechanisms required to make video games playable by disabled gamers. The advice is broken down into three tiers for each disability (mobility, hearing, cognitive and visual).


Subscribe to RSS - Web Standards