ATAG 1.0 = 28

Suggested ATAG 2.0 = 21

2. Guidelines

Guideline 1. Support accessible authoring practices.

If the tool automatically generates markup, many authors will be unaware of the accessibility status of the final content unless they expend extra effort to review it and make appropriate corrections by hand. Since many authors are unfamiliar with accessibility, authoring tools are responsible for automatically generating accessible markup, and where appropriate, for guiding the author in producing accessible content.

Many applications feature the ability to convert documents from other formats (e.g., Rich Text Format) into a markup format specifically intended for the Web such as HTML. Markup changes may also be made to facilitate efficient editing and manipulation. It is essential that these processes do not introduce inaccessible markup or remove accessibility content, particularly when a tool hides the markup changes from the author's view.


1.1 Ensure that the author can produce accessible content in the markup language(s) or content type(s) supported by the tool. [Priority 1]
At minimum, provide a code editing view that will accept manually-coded accessibility content and ensure that this content is preserved as per Checkpoint 1.2.
Techniques for checkpoint 1.1
1.2 Ensure that the tool preserves all accessibility information during authoring, transformations, and conversions. [Priority 1]
At minimum, preserve all valid markup, regardless of whether or not the tool is able to be render it all.
Techniques for checkpoint 1.2
1.3 Ensure that when the tool automatically generates markup it conforms to the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 [WCAG10]. [Relative Priority]
This applies to all situations in which the tool adds markup to a document except those in which the author has specified a particular markup implementation.

Techniques for checkpoint 1.3
1.4 Ensure that templates provided by the tool conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 [WCAG10]. [Relative Priority]
Ensure that all pre-authored content for the tool conforms to the Web Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. [Relative Priority]
For example, templates must include accessible markup and content. Images and multimedia must include accessible alternative, such as alt text and long descriptions for images and captions, auditory descriptions and collated text transcriptions for movies. Applets and scripts must be accessible and include functional alternatives.
Techniques for checkpoint 1.4

Guideline 2. Generate standard markup.

Conformance with standards promotes interoperability and accessibility by making it easier to create specialized user agents that address the needs of users with disabilities. In particular, many assistive technologies used with browsers and multimedia players are only able to provide access to Web documents that use valid markup. Therefore, valid markup is an essential aspect of authoring tool accessibility.

Where applicable use W3C Recommendations, which have been reviewed to ensure accessibility and interoperability. If there are no applicable W3C Recommendations, use a published standard that enables accessibility.


2.1 Use the latest versions of W3C Recommendations when they are available and appropriate for a task. [Priority 2]
W3C specifications have undergone review specifically to ensure that they do not compromise accessibility, and where possible, they enhance it. If the tool produces markup that does not conform to W3C recommendations, inform the author.
Techniques for checkpoint 2.1
2.2 Ensure that the tool automatically generates valid markup. [Priority 1]
Conforming to published markup standards is necessary for user agents to be able to render Web content in a manner appropriate to a particular user's needs.
Techniques for checkpoint 2.2
2.3 If markup produced by the tool does not conform to W3C specifications, inform the author. [Priority 3]
Techniques for checkpoint 2.3

Guideline 3. Support the creation of accessible content.

Well-structured information and equivalent alternative information are cornerstones of accessible design, allowing information to be presented in a way most appropriate for the needs of the user without constraining the creativity of the author. Yet producing equivalent information, such as text alternatives for images and auditory descriptions of video, can be one of the most challenging aspects of Web design, and authoring tool developers should attempt to facilitate and automate the mechanics of this process. For example, prompting authors to include equivalent alternative information such as text equivalents, captions, and auditory descriptions at appropriate times can greatly ease the burden for authors. Where such information can be mechanically determined and offered as a choice for the author (e.g., the function of icons in an automatically-generated navigation bar, or expansion of acronyms from a dictionary), the tool can assist the author. At the same time, the tool can reinforce the need for such information and the author's role in ensuring that it is used appropriately in each instance.


3.1 Prompt the author to provide equivalent alternative information (e.g., captions, auditory descriptions, and collated text transcripts for video). [Relative Priority]
Note: Some checkpoints in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 [WCAG10] may not apply.
Techniques for checkpoint 3.1
3.2 Help the author create structured content and separate information from its presentation. [Relative Priority]
Note: Some checkpoints in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 [WCAG10] may not apply.
Techniques for checkpoint 3.2
3.3 Ensure that prepackaged content conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 [WCAG10]. [Relative Priority]
For example, include captions, an auditory description, and a collated text transcript with prepackaged movies. <<< COMBINED WITH 1.4 >>> Refer also to checkpoint 3.4.
Techniques for checkpoint 3.3
3.3 Do not automatically generate equivalent alternatives. Do not reuse previously authored alternatives without author confirmation, except when the function of the object is known with certainty. [Priority 1]
The function of an object may be "known with certainty" when the object is placed by the tool for a specific purpose or the user has defined a purpose. For example, if a tool automatically generates a navigation bar for all pages on a site, it is acceptable to propagate the text equivalent(s) for images that link to searching, the table of contents, etc. When a new object is inserted and the function is unknown, the tool should prompt the author to enter an appropriate equivalent alternative without providing a default entry, such as the file name. A default entry should only be offered if it is human authored and has been previously associated with the object by the author or within a pre-packaged directory for the tool (ex. clip art gallery). Refer also to checkpoint 1.4 and checkpoint 3.5.
Techniques for checkpoint 3.4
3.4 Provide functionality for managing, editing, and reusing alternative equivalents for multimedia objects. [Priority 3]
Note: These alternative equivalents may be packaged with the tool, written by the author, retrieved from the Web, etc.
Techniques for checkpoint 3.5

Guideline 4. Provide ways of checking and correcting inaccessible content.

Many authoring tools allow authors to create documents with little or no knowledge about the underlying markup. To ensure accessibility, authoring tools must be designed so that they can (where possible, automatically) identify inaccessible markup, and enable its correction even when the markup itself is hidden from the author.

Authoring tool support for the creation of accessible Web content should account for different authoring styles. Authors who can configure the tool's accessibility features to support their regular work patterns are more likely to accept accessible authoring practices (refer to guideline 5). For example, some authors may prefer to be alerted to accessibility problems when they occur, whereas others may prefer to perform a check at the end of an editing session. This is analogous to programming environments that allow users to decide whether to check for correct code during editing or at compilation.

Note: Validation of markup is an essential aspect of checking the accessibility of content.


4.1 Check for and inform the author of accessibility problems. [Relative Priority]
Note: Accessibility problems should be detected automatically where possible. Where this is not possible, the tool may need to prompt the author to make decisions or to manually check for certain types of problems.
At a minimum, prompt the author to manually check for specific problems. Ideally, the checks should be automated to the greatest extent possible.
Techniques for checkpoint 4.1
4.2 Assist authors in correcting accessibility problems. [Relative Priority]
At a minimum, provide context-sensitive help with the accessibility checking required by checkpoint 4.1. Ideally, the author should be guided by examples, guidelines and automated tools.
Techniques for checkpoint 4.2
4.3 Allow the author to preserve markup not recognized by the tool. [Priority 2]
Note: The author may have included or imported markup that enhances accessibility but is not recognized by the tool.
<<< COVERED BY 1.2 >>>
Techniques for checkpoint 4.3
4.3Provide the author with a summary of the document's accessibility status. [Priority 3]
Techniques for checkpoint 4.4
4.5 Allow the author to transform presentation markup that is misused to convey structure into structural markup, and to transform presentation markup used for style into style sheets. [Priority 3] <<< TECHNIQUE FOR 3.2 >>>
Techniques for checkpoint 4.5

Guideline 5. Integrate accessibility solutions into the overall "look and feel".

When a new feature is added to an existing software tool without proper integration, the result is often an obvious discontinuity. Differing color schemes, fonts, interaction styles, and even software stability can be factors affecting author acceptance of the new feature. In addition, the relative prominence of different ways to accomplish the same task can influence which one the author chooses. Therefore, it is important that creating accessible content be a natural process when using an authoring tool.


5.1 Ensure that all functionality (prompts, checkers, information icons, etc.) related to accessible authoring practices is naturally integrated into the overall look and feel of the tool. [Priority 2]
Techniques for checkpoint 5.1
5.2 Ensure that accessible authoring practices supporting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 [WCAG10] Priority 1 checkpoints are among the most obvious and easily initiated by the author. [Priority 2]
Techniques for checkpoint 5.2

Guideline 6. Promote accessibility in help and documentation.

Web authors may not be familiar with accessibility issues that arise when creating Web content. Therefore, help and documentation must include explanations of accessibility problems, and should demonstrate solutions with examples.


6.1 Document all features that promote the production of accessible content. [Priority 1]
Techniques for checkpoint 6.1
6.2 Ensure that creating accessible content is a naturally integrated part of the documentation, including examples. [Priority 2]
Techniques for checkpoint 6.2
6.3 In a dedicated section, document all features of the tool that promote the production of accessible content. [Priority 3]
Techniques for checkpoint 6.3 <<< MAKE TECHNIQUE FOR 6.1 >>>

Guideline 7. Ensure that the authoring tool is accessible to authors with disabilities.

The authoring tool is a software program with standard user interface elements and as such must be designed according to relevant user interface accessibility guidelines. When custom interface components are created, it is essential that they be accessible through the standard access mechanisms for the relevant platform so that assistive technologies can be used with them.

Some additional user interface design considerations apply specifically to Web authoring tools. For instance, authoring tools must ensure that the author can edit (in an editing view) using one set of stylistic preferences and publish using different styles. Authors with low vision may need large text when editing but want to publish with a smaller default text size. The style preferences of the editing view must not affect the markup of the published document.

Authoring tools must also ensure that the author can navigate a document efficiently while editing, regardless of disability. Authors who use screen readers, refreshable braille displays, or screen magnifiers can make limited use (if at all) of graphical artifacts that communicate the structure of the document and act as signposts when traversing it. Authors who cannot use a mouse (e.g., people with physical disabilities or who are blind) must use the slow and tiring process of moving one step at a time through the document to access the desired content, unless more efficient navigation methods are available. Authoring tools should therefore provide an editing view that conveys a sense of the overall structure and allows structured navigation.

Note: Documentation, help files, and installation are part of the software and need to be available in an accessible form.


7.1 Follow Use all applicable operating system and accessibility standards and conventions (Priority 1 for standards and conventions that are essential to accessibility; Priority 2 for those that are important to accessibility; Priority 3 for those that are beneficial to accessibility).
The techniques for this checkpoint include references to checklists and guidelines for a number of platforms and to general guidelines for accessible applications.
Techniques for checkpoint 7.1
7.2 Allow the author to change the presentation within editing views without affecting the document markup. [Priority 1]
This allows the author to edit the document according to personal requirements, without changing the way the document is rendered when published. At minimum, this means supporting the display preferences set for the operating system and providing alternate textual representations for non-text elements during editing.
Techniques for checkpoint 7.2
7.3 Allow the author to edit all properties of each element and object in an accessible fashion. [Priority 1] <<<COMBINED WITH 7.5 >>>
Techniques for checkpoint 7.3
7.3 Ensure that the editing view allows navigation via the structure of the document in an accessible fashion.
Enable accessible navigation via document structure during editing [Priority 1]
Techniques for checkpoint 7.4
7.4 Enable editing of the structure of the document in an accessible fashion. [Priority 2]
Enable editing of the document structure and all properties of each element of the document in an accessible fashion. [Priority 1]
Techniques for checkpoint 7.5
7.6 Allow the author to search within editing views. [Priority 2]
Techniques for checkpoint 7.6 <<< THIS IS ALREADY VERY COMMON, DO WE NEED IT? >>>