Archive for December, 2007
The W3C has moved the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 to Last Call. This is the last call for public comment, so if you choose you can submit any comments on the draft by February 1, 2008. The draft is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-20071211/.
I think that it is worth considering two things as you read this document.
1. This document is more complex than WCAG 1.0 because the web is more complex. WCAG 2.0 needs to address accessibility challenges for the web that is being developed today, with dynamic content and Flash and PDF and Flex and AIR and Java and Silverlight (and on and on). Please read with the whole of the web in mind.
2. This draft has received significant attention related to harmonization with the U.S. Section 508 standards in development, the ISO accessibility guidelines, and the Japanese Industrial Standards. Take a look at the latest draft of the Section 508 standards at http://teitac.org/wiki/EWG:Draft_Nov_27 and compare. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one set of standards to attend to? I think so.
I don’t feel that this draft is perfect, but think that it is an excellent document that we can use to improve accessibility moving forward. if you pick any two people interested in accessibility they will not fully agree on all the points in WCAG 2.0 but I think that you’ll find that the issues in dispute tend to be edge cases.
I’ve been on the WCAG group for the past several months and there has been a lot of hard work put in during this time processing hundreds of comments. Please comment on this draft and let’s get this one finished!
A group of IT and assistive technology companies have formed a group designed to address engineering challenges around accessibility issues. The group’s name is the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance, or AIA. Adobe is part of this group because it is important to have improved methods to provide straightforward interoperability between IT products and assistive technology tools.
Of particular interest is the project that seeks to harmonize existing accessibility APIs such as IAccessible2 and UIAutomation. With the wide variety of assistive technologies available today, both these tools and Adobe’s players need reliable and standard methods to participate in information exchanges with assistive tools. There are too many tools for Adobe’s players to support directly through customization and similarly the assistive technology tools have too many IT products that they need to support so they too cannot provide custom solutions across the board. The way forward is through better and harmonized (or converged) APIs.
The AIA press release is at: http://www.accessinteropalliance.org/newsevents/pr121007.html.
The AIA group web site is http://www.accessinteropalliance.org/.
In case people haven’t heard, we have a new version of the Flash Player available as of last night. The features that I’m most excited about are the support for H.264 video – so now you can have high-definition video and you can provide captions using the caption support released in Flash CS3 - and the addition of MSAA support for Firefox so users of screen readers such as JAWS and Window-Eyes that use Firefox for browsing the web can interact with Flash content. The new player version is 9,0,115,0 and you can get it at http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer.