W3C boosts Web access for disabled
Reprinted from InfoWorld, September 26, 2006
By Paul Krill
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Tuesday published documents providing developers with assistance on making dynamic Web content usable to persons with disabilites, as part of the organization's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
Documents published include the first working public drafts of the Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) suite, including the WAI-ARIA Roadmap, WAI-ARIA Roles and WAI-ARIA States and Properties.
"As people are demanding more from the Web - more information, more responsive applications and richer experiences - an explosion in technologies that exclude access to many people is growing. This new suite of documents being rolled out is significant because they will help developers gain access to the tools needed to support persons with disabilities on the Web," said Rich Schwerdtfeger, IBM Distinguished Engineer and author of the WAI- ARIA Roadmap, in a prepared statement released by W3C. "ARIA is our first step to bring the richer, dynamic Web content experience to all users of the Web, by providing technology enhancements and examples for better, more accessible implementations."
The roadmap document describes an approach for ensuring interoperability between rich Internet applications and assistive technologies used by people with disabilities. The approach relies on technologies developed or under development by W3C, such as the XHTML Role Attribute Module. Also, the roadmap presents a gap analysis identifying technologies that may still be needed to ensure accessible rich Internet applications. Companion documents explain how to bridge those gaps.