Do You Make Web Sites? Use WCAG 2.0 and Make Your Web Sites Accessible

I’m so excited and pleased to announce after many years in the making that the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is now a full blown official Web Standard.

WCAG 2.0 guides developers in how to develop their Web sites so that they’re accessible to the most people possible (especially people with disabilities).

My friend and W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Education & Outreach Coordinator Shawn Henry recently put out a call to action:

Let’s work together as a community to make WCAG 2.0 a unifying force for web accessibility. There are so many websites and exciting new web applications being created today with accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for some people with disabilities to use them. Let’s change that, with WCAG 2.0.

Matt May has a good post about WCAG 2.0 being done at the Web Standards Project.

My congrats to the W3C, all my friends at WAI, and in the WCAG Working Group.  I know how hard you’ve all been working to make WCAG 2.0 a success.  Now lets get it out there and have lots and lots of people start using it.

The W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Are One Step From Being Completely Finished!

Today, they announced that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 has passed into the Proposed Recommendation phase of the standards process.

Congrats to all my friends at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)!  Judy, Shawn, Shadi, Michael C. and others, I lift my glass to you.

This is the last step before WCAG 2.0 is completely and finally done.  They expect it to reach the final stage of the process and be an official W3C Recommendation (standard) by December.

This is AWESOME!  WCAG 2.0 is set of guidelines for making your content accessible so that regardless of how someone views your content or whether or not that user has a disability.

If we’re going to be in the business of making content on the Web, I think it’s important that we make it in a way so that we can have the biggest possible audience.  Getting the most users is the name of the game.  So… making sure the content is accessible to everyone is crucial.

WCAG 2.0 is a long long long long time in the making.   It’s definitely exciting to see that’s it’s just about done.

Hopefully now starts an even bigger outreach effort to tell the world about WCAG 2.0 and what it has to offer.

Has the Web Standards & Web Accessibility Movement Lost Its Mojo?

Was just reminiscing…  Remember the good old days when it’d be just so much fun to sit around and talk about things like Web standards or Microformats or Web accessibility?

It seems like back in the day every week there was some new article in A List Apart or Digital Web Magazine that just blew your mind.  I remember when the thought of getting something published in A List Apart was talked about like you were getting something published in the Harvard Law Review or the American Journal of Medicine.

I used to eagerly download the speaker audio from all the Web developer conferences (An Event Apart, Web Directions South, @Media) because these titans of industry would unlock the solution to some type of major development problem that I had been having for months.

I remember when I’d go into Barnes & Noble and I’d dart for the Web Development section because there was sure to be some kind of new book by one of these titans of industry.  I can’t remember the last time I got excited about a new Web development book.

I remember when being appointed to a Web Standards Project task force was considered “making it.”

It really seems like all the excitement around things like Web standards, Web accessibility, microformats, and such has stopped completely.  Granted I’m in a bit of a differnet line of work now but I still stay pretty tuned into that scene.

Is this good? Have we achieved success?  Is the world accessible and standards compliant… or have we just become incredibly complacent?

With the innovations in things like HTML 5 and WCAG 2.0, can the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) reinvigorate the whole web development standards movement?

I don’t think we’ve achieved complete success.  I think there is still a lot of work to do.  But how does Web standards get its sexy back?

The W3C Web Site is Getting a Redesign… SWEET!

Yesterday, W3C staffer and resident blogger Karl Dubost put up a post to tease what I’m assuming is a redesign of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web site.

Sounds like it will be announced by renowned Web designer Ethan Marcotte on June 24th at the An Event Apart conference.

I think I speak for all designers and developers who espouse Web standards when I say THANK YOU.  The redesign will make our lives so much easier and enjoyable.

W3C Launches eGovernment Activity

Recently, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) launched its eGovernment Activity and Interest Group.  The group is being co-chaired by my former boss and friend Kevin Novak along with the W3C’s Jose M. Alonso.

The mission of the activity is to “to explore how to improve access to government through better use of the Web and achieve better government transparency using open Web standards.”  This will manfest itself in a series of published best practices and guides.

Having worked for a large government organization that made government data available to the American people, I’m aware that nothing happens quickly.

I hope and pray that this Interest group will be able to get buy in, engage, and create community around these ideas with government officials and people all across the world.

Browsers Supporting WAI ARIA :-)

Just read on Gez Lemon’s site Juicy Studio that with WebKit’s recent announcement of support for WAI-ARIA, all the major browsers are now doing something to support it.   This ROCKS!

For those of you not familiar with WAI-ARIA, it’s a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for making all those ajaxy fancy user-interface components (like tree menus or alerts) accessible to people with disabilities.

Last year at a W3C conference, I got to see WAI-ARIA demoed by a blind gentelmen.  It was WAY cool.  I hope all browsers move quickly to suppor this as much as possible.

Start Using WCAG 2.0 Right Now!; Yep, It Advanced to the Next Stage!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that one topic I’m passionate about is making the Web accessible to people with disabilities.  We all depend on the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) guidance via the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to help us through the process.

Well… WCAG 2.0 has just advanced to the next stage of the standards development process, Candidate Recommendation. What they need you to do is to go use it.

This weekend, get together with your friends and convert all of your sites and your blogs to being WCAG 2.0 conformant.  It won’t take that much work.  When you’re done, write about how it went.

Have you converted yet?  What do you think?  Let’s make our sites accessible so everyone can use them and access them.

W3C releases a Web Compatibility Test for Mobile Browsers

This is really cool.  The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) has just release as Web Compatibility Test for Mobile Browsers. It tests against compatibility with twelve different Web technologies.

Point your phone’s browser to:

If you see twelve green boxes, your mobile browser has passed the test.

Here’s hoping that this compatibility test will cause the same level of competition among mobile browser vendors as the release of Acid 3 did for desktop browser vendors.

The W3C Published The First Public Working Draft of HTML 5

HTML 5 just released its first public working draft

There was a lot of big news today in the world of Web standards.  Today the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the first public working draft of HTML 5.  It’s the next generation of thinking around the future of HTML, which is the lingua franca or building blocks of every Web site.

Some of HTML 5 is great… some of its meh… but it’s a start, which is AWESOME.

Yes, just to be clear… HTML 5 is far from done.  If you follow the timeline set forth by the chairs of the working group who have taken up this endeavor, this may be wrapping up in 2010.

But… what this first public working draft is is hopefully a starting point of even more community discussion and participating in what will be the future of the Web.

Now, just to warn you.  The HTML 5 specification draft is pretty heavy… as in the language is tough and if you were to print it off and drop it on your toe, you’d probably break your toe.  The main audience of the spec is browser makers (Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera, etc.)

If you wanna work your way up to reading the spec, I’d recommend checking out the document “HTML 5 differences from HTML 4” which was also released today for first public working draft by the W3C.  You could also check out the A List Apart article written by Lachlan Hunt, “A Preview of HTML 5.

Complacency – One of the biggest enemies of HTML 5 (and I guess standards development in general)

I have been on the W3C HTML Working group for about a month now.  The big initiative we’re working on is the development of HTML 5.

Since I joined the working group, I’ve been out there talking with people, listening to folks, reading comments, and reading blogs.  Noted JavaScript expert Jeremy Keith summed up a common collective feeling that i’ve heard so much from people…

The present isn’t that bad. HTML is good enough.

I really think that complacency is one of the biggest enemies of HTML 5.

People generally don’t know what’s wrong with HTML 4 or why HTML 5 is better so they don’t pay attention or get involved.

The thing is we need HTML 5.  The Web and how the world uses the Web has changed a lot since HTML 4.  More on this later…