Archive for December, 2008

Web Content Authoring Guidelines 2.0 Released

Friday, December 12th, 2008

The Web Content Authoring Guidelines 2.0 were made an official W3C Recommendation yesterday. The changes to the Guidelines and associated documents expand Web accessibility to include file formats and technologies that have become common: PDF, Javascript and Flash, among others. The Guidelines now also emphasize testable results, bringing accessibility closer to an objectively measurable standard.

The Guidelines are based on four principles, from which a vast array of technical documents and specifications are derived. In the shortest form, all Web content should be perceivable, operable and understandable to everyone, and the content should be robust.

The table of contents for the Guidelines document also serves as a summary and brief explanation of the accessibility principles:

Some blog entries from participants in the process give a sense of the work that has been done since 1999, when the original Guidelines were published.:

A personal reflection on the WCAG 2.0 publication, by Shawn Lawton Henry (Web Accessibility Initiative Outreach Coordinator);

Thoughts from Matt May (from Adobe).

Direct links to the most important WCAG documents can be found on our Web Access Developments page.

Better Access To The Next Windows

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Michael Bernstein, a development lead on the User Interface Platform team for Microsoft Windows has written a detailed article: Accessibility In Windows 7. He describes four areas of improved accessibility in Windows 7, which will be the successor to Windows Vista.:

  • The Windows Automation API provides more and clearer ways for applications to communicate with adaptive technology software. This means more features should be accessible out of the box. It is available to programmers in C++ and .Net. This system replaces but is designed to be compatible with the older Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA).
  • There are enhancements to the Windows access tools: an improved On-Screen Keyboard (with word prediction) and Magnifier (now with modes for Full Screen and Lens magnification).
  • There are new software checking tools for programmers: AccChecker and UIA Verify,
    which have been released as open-source.
  • Accessibility engineers now monitor new Windows features for “accessibility risk”. The goal is to identify and fix emerging problems, so that Windows itself doesn’t create accessibility barriers.