by Andrew Kirkpatrick
We’re delighted to join others in applauding the release of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 as a W3C Recommendation.
WCAG is important because it treats accessibility independently and offers greater clarity and testability for the standards. The notion that only formats that originated at the W3C can be accessible is noticeably absent in version 2, which reflects not only the hard work on accessibility done by Adobe with PDF and Flash, but also acknowledges that the web changes quickly and it is important to have objective criteria that allow authors and technology providers to evaluate their offerings to enable users with disabilities to access content developed using new techniques or technologies.
Adobe has already provided information that clarifies how the concept of “Accessibility Supported” that is used in WCAG 2 applies to the PDF format, and also provided a sample implementation of a Flash-based video application that was determined to meet Level AA of WCAG 2. This information is available as part of the WCAG 2 implementation report.
WCAG 2 will benefit authors and end users, and already there is encouraging news related to its adoption into existing and developing accessibility policies, such as the pan-European accessibility policy being developed under UE Mandate 376 and country-based standards being refreshed in the United State, Japan, and elsewhere.
Adobe will offer a series of best practices for using Adobe tools, to enable authors creating content and applications that use Flash, PDF, HTML, or other formats to comply with WCAG 2. These will be available on the Adobe web site in December 2008 and have been developed in conjunction with leading accessibility experts inside and outside of Adobe. We’ll announce the availability through this blog and various email lists.
Please take the time to familiarize yourself with this important standard.