Web Standards

The W3C WAI announces a Call for Review of updates to two supporting documents for Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0. This is not an update to WCAG 2.0, which is a stable document.

The supporting documents (W3C Working Group Notes) are updated periodically to reflect current practices and technologies. Previously they were updated about once a year. The WCAG Working Group now plans to update them more frequently.

The existing Techniques and Understanding documents remain in place as W3C Notes while these separate draft updates are under review and the WCAG Working Group addresses comments.

The following draft updates are available for review as Editors' Drafts:

If you are interested in actively contributing to the development of additional WCAG 2.0 techniques and support material through the WCAG Working Group, please see: Participating in WAI and contact Michael Cooper.

On November 19 and 20 in Pune India the state Directorate of Information Technology (DIT), in association with Mahaonline Limited (MoL) will hold a workshop on eAccessibility. The DIT is inviting developer communities and software companies primarily working on government of Maharashtra websites that are high-traffic, high impact and citizen-centric. The goal is to teach them about web accessibility in an effort to make their websites and applications compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guide-lines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A.

Evaluating a product for accessibility can be challenging. How do you know a product is really accessible? What can you do to verify the information in a VPAT?

VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. Organizations request VPATs for products to determine if it is accessible but how do you know if that information is correct and if the product is really accessible. In this session you will learn what a VPAT is and what you can do to evaluate a product to see if it meets the Section 508 standards and WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

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If you have an accessible website, more persons with disabilities will frequent it.  By word of mouth, its good reputation will start to permeate the community of users with disabilities.  They might spread the word that all active elements are keyboard accessible, all images have proper text equivalents, and content has sufficient color contrast.  Since there are about one billion users with disabilities worldwide, accessible sites have the potential of getting a lot more hits than inaccessible ones.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has published a document on Contacting Organization about Inaccessible Websites. The document gives three steps to report websites with accessibility issues:

  1. Identify key contacts
  2. Describe the problem
  3. Follow up as needed

The document stresses that website owners have many priorities for changes and improvements on their site and the more they hear about accessibility from users, the more likely it will become a priority. It further emphasizes considering what approach will get the best results stating that, “The tone of your emails, phone calls, and other communications will impact how people react and respond.” It suggests that assuming that the organization doesn’t know about the accessibility barriers on their website is the best first approach.

Mayo Moran, Dean and James Marshall Tory, Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, has been appointed by Ontario to head a review of the province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The AODA became law in 2005. Since then Ontario has created Accessibility Standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and the design of public spaces. The act was reviewed for the first time by Charles Beer, former provincial Minister of Community and Social Services. Completed in 2010, the review looked at processes around the developing accessibility standards, municipal accessibility advisory committees and the government’s administration of the AODA.

The goal of the AODA is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Moreover, it will build a fair society so that everyone can contribute their skills to Ontario’s economy.

Infographics on the web have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years for many great reasons. Often, they are able to quickly convey complex bits of information and show key relationships between data sets. For sighted users, representing data as an infographic actually improves accessibility. It’s easier to understand because infographics:

On September 12, as part of its Accessibility and Innovation Initiative speaker series the FCC will present live demonstrations of new and compelling technologies designed to enhance accessibility. Among the demonstrations will be:

  • How a smartphone can scan printed material into electronic text
  • How a web-browsing assistant can extract news articles for later reading
  • How cloud computing can enhance accessibility for all

Dr. Yevgen Borodin who is a renowned professor and entrepreneur known for his research in computation methods and non-visual interfaces for improving web accessibility, will discuss “Improving Accessibility for the General Public.” Read additional detail on Dr. Borodin’s presentation and the live demonstration of accessibility enhancing technologies.

On Tuesday November 19th from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. eSolutions is hosting the first Open Web Accessibility Conference at the Waterloo Museum in Ontario. The objective of the conference is to:

  • Educate participants about what website accessibility is and provide context around why it’s important.
  • Help participants understand what steps they need to take to comply with the AODA.
  • Provide participants with a better understanding of how website accessibility is measured and develop new ideas for future applications and innovations

Visit the Open Web Accessibility Conference website to register.

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