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…

Listen to Podcast of me on KPFA’s Pushing Limits

So Friday was another first for me, I was a guest on the  KPFA radio show Pushing Limits in Berkeley, California. The show is about disability life.

That episode was covering Web accessibility.  We had a really great discussion about things like Flash accessibility, CAPTCHA, and practical guidance for people making Web sites.  It was a TON of fun.

Well… if you’re interested,  you can now listen to the podcast of the show on their Web site.  Let me know your thoughts.    I think it went really well for me first time on the radio professionally.

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.

Just Bought Shawn Lawton Henry’s New Book

Cover of Shawn's Book Just Ask

I have known Shawn Lawton Henry for a while and I’m excited that my copy of her new book is in the mail. It’s called “Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design.

You can purchase a paperback copy of the book or you can get read the whole book online on Shawn’s web site.

Expect a review soon…

Colour Contrast Analyser Now Available for Mac OS X

Colour Contrast Analyser

A little over a month ago, I wrote a post about the need to make sure our Web site design colors have the proper color contrast. The post was very well received and I’m glad to see it’s raising awareness of the issue.

Well just recently, the Web Accessibility Tools Consortium and the Paciello Group have released a version of their Colour Contrast Analyser for Mac OS X. *cheers*

Download it. Try it! Let me know what you think.

Are you using colors on your site that have enough contrast?

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. )

Web Accessibility Toolbar 2.0 is Now Available

The Paciello Group has recently announced that the Web Accessibility Toolbar Version 2.0 Beta for Internet Explorer is now available.  This tool will check some of  the accessibility features of your Web site, much like the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox by Chris Pederick.  While I can’t vouch for the tool because I’m a Mac OS X & Firefox user, I have heard it’s great.  Check it out and report back to me.

WCAG 2.0: Add Captions to Your Online Video

I recently read some obscene statistic about the HUGE amount of video that is getting uploaded to the Web everyday. It’s a probably safe bet to say that the majority of that online video doesn’t have any captioning.  This is a big problem for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and are trying to understand the message of your video.  According to Gallaudet University, about 8.6% of the American population or 20+ million people have some form of hearing problems.

Captioning takes time and its not easy. I wish there was a magic button that you could press and captions would magically appear on the videos you were making.

Regardless, the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 has the Success Criteria 1.2.1 which says:

1.2.1 Captions (Prerecorded): Captions are provided for prerecorded multimedia, except for multimedia alternatives to text that are clearly labeled as such.

Well authoring tool vendors and developers have responded to our call for better tools.

In the latest version of Adobe Flash CS3, there is integrated captioning functionality. According to Adobe Accessibility Engineer “delivering captioning in Flash really easy.” While, I haven’t seen this at work. I’m pretty excited that Adobe has made this a priority.

There is also MAGpie, the free open-source tool from WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media.  If you already have the transcript for your video, you can quickly turn the transcript into the xml file format you need to make captions for your online video.  I have seen it in action.  It’s not super seamless but it gets the job done.

The US Library of Congress has started to integrate the use of MAGpie and Flash video to provide captioning for some of their videos.  Check out the videos for the MacDowell Exhibit. (Full Disclosure: With my government contracting job, I work at the Library of Congress full time.)

One of the most interesting tools I have seen is dotSub.  You can submit your video to the service and then you or any of the members of the service can transcribe and caption the video.  Once you have the initial captioning done,  the captions can be translated into many languages.  This is all done through the wisdom and knowledge of the community.

Lee Lefever did it with his Wikis In Plain English videodotSub really worked for him.  Not only was he able to get his video transcribed and captioned in English.  It was also subtitled into a dozen other languages.  His video is now accessible to people with auditory disabilities where it wasn’t before.

Yahoo! Continues Web Accessibility Video Series with Karo Caran Introducing Screen Magnification Software

Last month, Yahoo! posted a great introductory video on Web Accessibility and screen readers with Victor Tsaran. Well they recently posted the next video, in what is becoming a series. It is an introductory video to Web Accessibility and screen magnification software with Karo Caran.  If you have never seen screen magnification software in action before, you really need to check out the video.