Going Beyond WCAG 2.0

As with all of the accessibility guidelines, WCAG 2.0 does not ensure the content will be accessible to everyone who has a disability. At levels 1 and 2 WCAG 2.0 provides some accessibility provisions that can be applied widely across the Internet (levels 1 and 2). It also provides success criteria at level 3 that, although they may not be applicable to all web sites, should be considered wherever possible. The working group is encouraging web authors to do this by providing a level of conformance (AAA) which goes beyond levels 1 and 2.

In addition to these success criteria, the working group has also identified a number of additional techniques which are listed in “Understanding WCAG 2.0” as advisory techniques, and we are continuing to collect additional ones. Advisory techniques are either techniques which are good advice but where it is not possible to clearly determine whether someone has met the technique or they are new techniques that are t are not currently supported by user agents or special user agents. Thus they are good and future ideas but would not be sufficient to meet the needs of individuals today. As support for these new techniques is built into user agents and special user agents which become available on a widespread basis, these advisory techniques can move up to the sufficient techniques for meeting success criteria.

We also have two other activities or documents we have been discussing that we would like help with.

Application Note: “Designing Web Content To Be More Accessible By Individuals With Language, Learning, And Cognitive Disabilities”

When trying to focus on designing sites particularly for individuals with language, learning or cognitive disabilities, it can be useful to have a document which pulls together all of the various aspects dealing with cognitive disability in a single document. Such a document could also point out which techniques work well for different types of language, learning, and cognitive disabilities and different levels of cognitive disability. It could also bring together all of the techniques that are both sufficient and advisory and present them in a fashion which is organized by the needs of consumers rather than by levels of conformance.

To meet this need and the similar needs for other disabilities, the WAI has planned for the development of application notes. Some deal with particular topics (creating accessible forms). One of them is planned specifically to address the needs of individuals with cognitive language and learning disabilities. Input to both the content and the effort to write the cognitive application note are needed and requested.

Research Topic Paper: “On The Horizon: Emerging and Future Techniques for Making Web Content More Accessible To Individuals with Language, Learning, and Cognitive Disabilities”

We would like to explore the idea of doing such a paper with your help. Such a document could explore emerging and new potential approaches for making web content more accessible to individuals with language, learning, and cognitive disabilities. The goal of this document would be to allow the exploration and description of new techniques in a way that would not be confused with techniques which are currently available and supported today. More important, however, the purpose of the document would be to help highlight and promote a research agenda that can be addressed through the various national research programs to begin to better address the complex area. We have new tools emerging from various areas of technology and science which have the potential to give us new tools that have not been possible in the past for transforming and representing content to meet the needs of individuals with these types of disabilities. This document would focus on helping to identify and promote search and development of these ideas. This document would be coordinated with the RDIG (the Research and Development Interest Group) of the Web Accessibility Initiative.

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Updated 2006.11.26

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