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April is Accessibility Month at HTML Writers Guild

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 18:53:08 -0800
Message-Id: <4.2.0.58.20010325185142.00b38f00@garth.idyllmtn.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
[From the HTML Writers Guild's newsletter.  More announcements re:
accessibility will be coming in future HWG-News issues in April.]

2. April is Accessibility Month
(Kynn Bartlett, AWARE Center Director, kynn@hwg.org)

April 2001 has been designated as the Guild's fourth annual Web
Accessibility Month, a month-long focus on the very important
issue of web accessibility!

By "accessible", we mean a web site that can be used by everyone,
regardless of disability.  Unfortunately, many web pages being
created are not accessible, because they have unnecessary,
artificial barriers to access -- cutting out parts of their own
audience!

Accessibility problems are very common and present major
obstacles to a number of web users.  For example, images that
are not labeled with the ALT attribute cannot be understood by
the screenreaders often used by blind computer users.  Deaf
users cannot understand the sound tracks of multimedia files,
unless transcripts are provided.  Users with dexterity or
mobility disabilities may not be able to use a mouse or
keyboard to access a site.

In order to make an accessible web site, web authors need to
have an understanding of "non-standard access methods" -- in
other words, more than just the latest version of Netscape or
Internet Explorer running on a desktop or laptop.  The techniques
that provide access for people with disabilities can also make
a web site usable by people with mobile access devices such as
cell phones or PDAs; by users connecting via web appliances
such as WebTV; and by users who have older hardware and
software.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) -- the industry organization
that crafts the standards for the web, such as HTML, CSS, and XML
-- created the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in 1997 to
define the techniques necessary to produce accessible web sites.
The HTML Writers Guild, the only organization of web designers
that holds membership in the W3C, has been an active participant
in WAI activities.  Some important WAI milestones include the
issuance of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in May of
1999, and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines in February
2000.  (Under development now are accessibility guidelines for
browsers and other user agents.)

The HTML Writers Guild established the Accessible Web Authoring
Resources and Education (AWARE) Center as a resource center for web
designers who want to learn more about web accessibility.  The Guild
invites you to become AWARE of web accessibility this April by
visiting:

       http://www.awarecenter.org/

-- 
Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                http://kynn.com/
Technical Developer Liaison, Reef             http://www.reef.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet   http://idyllmtn.com/
Online Instructor, Accessible Web Design     http://kynn.com/+d201
Received on Sunday, 25 March 2001 21:51:16 GMT

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