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.

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.

CNET Shows Leadership By Providing Captions For Their Online Video

CNET TV has recently shown a great deal of leadership in the online video space by starting to provide captions for their video. This is great news! I know it’s not easy to caption video… this is a big move for them. I hope more video shops (like Revision 3) will follow their move and start providing captions.

There is a chunk of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 that deals with captioning. Success Criteria 1.2.1 says…

1.2.1 Captions (Prerecorded): Captions are provided for prerecorded synchronized media, except if the synchronized media is an alternative to text and is clearly labeled as such . (Level A)

Let’s Advance WCAG 2.0

Shawn Henry of the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative recently wrote a blog post entitled “Is WCAG 2.0 almost done?!” Well after reading the document, I say let’s advance the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to it’s next stage.

Like Shawn, I’ve been following the development of WCAG 2.0 for a while and I think that this is one of the working group strongest drafts yet.

I’m going to start using WCAG 2.0 when making Web sites.  Will you join me?

W3C Publishes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a Last Call Working Draft

Well today the World Wide Web Consortium has just published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a Last Call Working Draft. For those of us who’ve followed the development of WCAG 2.0, getting things to this stage is definitely a long time coming and we’re all very excited to see what the WCAG Working Group has come up with.

According to the WAI document “How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process…“, Last Call Working Draft means the following:

When a Working Group believes it has addressed all comments and technical requirements, it provides the complete document for community review and announces the Last Call. For example, see the WCAG 2.0 Last Call Announcement and Extention e-mail. (Note that after the Last Call comment period, it can take weeks or months for a Working Group to formally address all comments, document the resolutions, and make necessary changes.) If there are substantive changes, the technical report would go through another Last Call Working Draft before moving to the next stage.

According to the Call for Review, “The WCAG Working Group hopes that it has resolved all substantive issues with this draft, and looks forward to progressing to the next stages in completing WCAG 2.0.”


If you’re going to review WCAG 2.0, make sure that you also check out the following updated documents…

I’m going to be doing a detailed review of WCAG 2.0. I’ll be publishing my thoughts here as soon as I get time to sit down with the document.

Stay tuned…

HTML 5 Reading Parties?

With the W3C working on HTML 5, many times I have wondered how I could get more involved. Do I want to get work to add me to the working group and get the 1000 emails a month? Should I start reading the spec and post about it on my blog? Reading the HTML 5 draft spec by myself interests me about as much as trying to read War & Peace. (I think they’re about the same size.)

What about HTML 5 reading parties? We could really do it for any of the W3C Specifications like WCAG 2.0 or CSS 2.1. We could get 5 to 10 people together with a couple cases of beer or nice bottles of wine. If people didn’t want to drink alcohol, we could meet at a coffee shop. We’d each take part of the spec and start reading it.

It’d be a fun and whole lot less intimidating way of jumping head first into the future development of the lingua franca of the Web, HTML.

At the end, we could have some collective notes that we could post on our blogs or maybe one big blog.

So… any of you interested? I’d buy the wine or the first round of coffees.

WCAG 2.0 July 2007 Update

If you haven’t heard, there has been the following update about the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

The WCAG Working Group received many constructive comments on the 17 May 2007 Drafts. They separated the comments into about 450 issues, ranging from minor edits to technical issues. In the first two weeks of July, the Working Group had eight half-day worksessions where they addressed about 150 of those issues and started work on another 100. It will likely take 3 to 4 months to address all of the issues and prepare the next draft.

The Working Group will respond to each comment. Once the comments have been addressed, the Working Group plans to publish a second WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft to provide for review of the completed edits before moving on to the next stages. The next stages are described in How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process.

I Want WCAG 2.0 to be Testable

Yesterday, the web magazine A List Apart posted an article from Gian Sampson-Wild, “Testability Costs Too Much,” where she makes the claim that the requirement of having every success criteria within the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 be testable is too steep of a requirement.

I completely disagree.  Success criteria that can’t be tested shouldn’t be included in a document that is supposed to give guidance.

I was going to use the metaphor that Jeffrey Zeldman jumped on.  If someone says don’t speed in your car because it will hurt people, thats fine but how do I know what speeding is.  It’s a toothless and unenforceable law.   But if you say that I can’t go above 65 mph or 100 kph, that is a testable and  enforceable law.

I can’t tell a developer to do something unless I know specifically what I’m asking of them.  Just giving some one general advice isn’t going to work.  It is going to be interpreted a variety of ways.  This leads to fragmentation of guidance and  inconsistent implementations which don’t help anyone.

If the principle of testability of the success critieria is inconsistently applied within the document, I think thats a legitimate concern.  Commenting on the latest WCAG 2.0 Working Draft closes on Friday.

Doesn’t taking out testability dilute the guidance that we’re really want and asked for?  Am I missing something?

Yahoo! YUI Theater Hosts Web Accessibility Expert Shawn Lawton Henry. Watch The Presentation.

Photo of Shawn Lawton Henry speaking at the @Media conference in London

Yahoo! has been posting so many great videos on Web Accessibility. While in London, Web Accessibility expert and W3C staffer Shawn Lawton Henry stopped by Yahoo to talk about the Web accessibility guidelines that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working on. It’s a great talk. Check it out.

(Photo of Shawn Lawton Henry by Richard Ishida.  Taken at the 2007 @media conference in London, UK. )