Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

So near to the finish line …

No, I’m not referring to the election (even though that’s technically correct), nor am I referring to the Accessify redesign/rebuild (which is almost as correct!), rather the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 which have now moved to Proposed Recommendation status.

Comments on this version are open only until 2 December, so if there are any burning issues that you still feel strongly about, you have just the slimmest of chances to get them addressed (although those chances may be about as slim as the chances of a McCain win by the end of today … but stranger things have happened. Basically, the focus of review comments at this stage will be those by W3C members, but anyone can try submitting comments).

Here’s what the W3C had to say (complete with the appropriate links for your browsing pleasure):

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group has published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 as a Proposed Recommendation, and published updated Working Drafts of Understanding WCAG 2.0, Techniques for WCAG 2.0, and How to Meet WCAG 2.0. WCAG defines how to make Web sites, Web applications, and other Web content accessible to people with disabilities. Comments are welcome through 2 December 2008. Read the announcement, Overview of WCAG 2.0 Documents, and about the Web Accessibility Initiative.

In case you were wondering, ‘Proposed Recommendation’ means that the technical material of WCAG 2.0 is complete and it has been implemented in real sites, so we’re talking real-world scanarios, not theoretical.

Filed under: Accessibility, W3C, WAI, WCAG
Comments (2) Posted by Ian on Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Review WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group invites you to review the second WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft published on 11 December 2007. WCAG 2.0 explains how to make Web sites, applications, and other content accessible to people with disabilities. Please submit any comments on the following document by 1 February 2008: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 - W3C Working Draft 11 December 2007

See the complete call for review: WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft for further details.

Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Web Axe podcast 2 year anniversary

Congratulations to Dennis Lembrée and Ross Johnson for the 2 year anniversary episode of Web Axe - Practical Web Accessibility Tips.

For a special feature, the following web experts were gracious enough to send me input on their thoughts about recent events and trends in the world of web accessibility:

  • Mark McKay
  • Joe Dolson
  • Roger Johansson
  • Patrick Lauke
  • Jared Smith
  • Ross Johnson

And here’s the transcript of my portion of the podcast:

Hi, this is Patrick Lauke for Web Axe.

For me the most significant development of the last year has been the way in which accessibility discourse in general has widened beyond the narrow confines of WCAG 1.0.

Although for very simple sites WCAG 1.0 is still quite valid, it’s ill equipped to deal with the reality of today’s web.

Rich internet applications, flash sites, complex javascript and AJAX, even widespread use of PDFs…as a developer, if you’re just sticking with WCAG 1.0, most of those are simply out of the question.

It’s true that in most situations you should really try to offer simple HTML/CSS based alternatives…but it’s not an either/or proposition anymore. For instance, it’s not purely a case of having a non-javascript accessible version of your site, since screen reader users don’t necessarily have javascript disabled by default. And in fact, judicious use of javascript can enhance the usability and accessibility of a site, even for these users…if it’s done properly.

I’d say that the development of technologies such as ARIA plays a key role here. As more and more browsers and assistive technologies take advantage of ARIA, we’ll hopefully see some of the major problems that javascript and AJAX can cause for particularly screen reader users being mitigated or maybe even completely eliminated.

Underpinning all of these developments, I would say that WCAG 2.0’s tech-agnostic, results driven approach, which ditches the “only use W3C technologies” dictum in favour of “accessibility supported technologies” holds great promise. It can provide a solid, extensible framework that’s valid today and in the future.

Based on the latest draft, WCAG 2.0 is indeed moving in the right direction…so my wish for this coming year is to see a stable version of the new guidelines.

And to really help web authors understand how WCAG 2.0 can be applied in practice, I also hope that the technology-specific, non-normative supporting documents for WCAG 2.0 will get some much needed attention…as that’s what most web authors will need, and refer to, in their practical day-to-day work.

And with that out of the way, I just want to say congratulations on your two year anniversary and keep up the good work. Cheers.

Filed under: AJAX, Accessibility, Standards, W3C
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, September 23, 2007

WCAG 2.0 - Finally Here! [April Fool!]

[Update: Yes, it was an April Fool's joke as most people had worked out, but we're keeping it here with this disclaimer rather than removing the post.]

Well, it’s certainly caught a few people by surprise. It may seem like we’ve been all been going around in circles for a while on this, but the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 finally became a candidate recommendation on Friday. This was despite the last draft having a large number of
comments that were, apparently, still not addressed. Looking at the WCAG mailing list, it seems that much of the clearing up of these sticking points was largely down to the concerted efforts of invited expert Olivier Farlop (or Oli to his friends). So, after what has seemed like an absolute age, it seems like the joke’s on us - all that deliberation and argument, disagreement and opinion has been made a mockery of with this surprising announcement.

Filed under: Accessibility, W3C
Comments (12) Posted by Ian on Sunday, April 1, 2007

Can You Help to Make Web Apps Accessible?

You may think that it’s a lost cause trying to get web apps/pages that use AJAX and the like to work on today’s browsers and assistive technology. Sure, it’s a pig of a thing to sort out but you, dear reader, are not powerless. Some time back (September this year), the W3C working group for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) set out plans to address the various issues surrounding these types of non-trivial web pages (in other words, web pages that look/behave more like desktop applications).

Now they are after your help. The draft suite of documents that form the basis of ARIA’s work is up for public review. The three documents for review are:

Closing date for public review is 19th January. So, if you’ve been lamenting the state of play of AJAX and accessibility, now’s your chance to do something practical to help out.

Filed under: Accessibility, W3C, WAI-ARIA
Comments (1) Posted by Ian on Wednesday, December 27, 2006