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Accessibility - The Web Accessibility Initiative
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
From the Handbook for quality in cultural Web sites Improving quality for citizens, paragraph 2.2.3:
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the WAI project are constantly referred to in the search for quality accessibility in a Web site.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 1.0, 5 May 1999, is particularly important for accessibility of content.
The document consists of 14 GuideLines. Each of these presents typical situation that could present difficulties for disabled users. In every Guide Line a certain number of checkpoints are defined and explain the specific way the guide can be applied to developing content. The Guidelines introduce the concept of priority and thence the concept of conformity. These concepts are thus defined by the WCAG:
Each checkpoint has a priority level assigned by the
Working Group based on the checkpoint's impact on accessibility.
A Web content developer "must" satisfy this
checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to
access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a
basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
A Web content developer "should" satisfy this
checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to
access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will
remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
A Web content developer "may" address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.
Some checkpoints specify a priority level that may change under certain (indicated) conditions.
Respect of the above points leads to the concept of conformity:
Conformance Level "A":
Conformance Level "Double-A":
Conformance Level "Triple-A":
Various tools for evaluation of the accessibility of Web contents are commercially available. These automatic tools are not alone sufficient to guarantee conformity to the degree of accessibility required. Indeed, many guidelines require a degree of subjective evaluation that no automatic tool can supply.