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[media] Goodies Thoughts - W3C Wants You

From: Kathleen Anderson <kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 10:02:45 -0400
Message-ID: <000701c1ff3d$dd820c20$6401a8c0@ROADY>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Goodies to Go (tm)
May 6, 2002--Newsletter #179
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/179.html

Goodies Thoughts - W3C Wants You

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Recently, the W3C released a working draft of WCAG 2.0 for the public to
review and provide input to the W3C. That's a lot of acronyms don't you
think?



Here's what it means in plain English. If you are fairly new to web
development you may not know what the W3C is. Well, W3C stands for the World
Wide Web Consortium. Get it? W3 for the three W's in the name.



Whether you may have realized it or not, the W3C has had quite an impact on
the web as we know it today. It has helped to shape the development of the
web through a series of guidelines designed to bring order and conformity to
what would otherwise be the chaotic web.



The W3C was founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, the "inventor" of the web.
The intent was to make the web more standardized which would in turn make it
more accessible as well. In order to achieve their goals, the W3C seeks
input from both industry professionals and users. By seeking input from both
ends of the spectrum they can hopefully help professionals add
standardization and universal accessibility to the web without stifling
technological advancement or creativity.



Just in case you were wondering, the guidelines that the W3C produces are
not any sort of international law and you don't have to commit to memory any
of their publications in order to develop in HTML or anything else for that
matter. However, many of their publications are definitely worth reading and
may give you some insight on how to improve the web sites that you develop.
Set aside some time to read the W3C documentation, though. Much of it is
written in borderline legal-ease and you may end up reading through the
documentation several times.



If you want to learn more about the W3C go to http://www.w3.org/Consortium/.



In W3C's effort to make the web more accessible to everyone, they are
revising their WCAG guidelines, which stands for Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines. In short, the WCAG are intended to help make content on the web
more accessible to everyone including such groups as the sight and hearing
impaired.



Many web designers, whether they realize it or not, are already assisting
"impaired" users. For example, each time you use the ALT attribute with you
graphics and images you are making it possible for visitors that are
visually impaired to know what the graphics and images are via your ALT
text. This is just one way that you can improve ALL of your visitors' web
experience.



What the W3C is attempting to do is set a list of criteria that a web site
would have to meet in order to be classified as WCAG compliant. It would
also have several levels of compliance so that a site could possibly be
visually impaired compliant but maybe not compliant for the hearing
impaired.



Once a site has achieved some level of compliance they would then insert
some specific meta data that would alert certain software and/or browsers
that the site is compliant. This way impaired visitors will know immediately
if the site they are visiting will be useful to them.



Currently, the original WCAG is going through its first complete overhaul.
The original WCAG document was published in 1999 and is available at
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/. Being that 3 years is a very long in
internet time, the W3C is revamping this document and asking for input. If
you are interested in making your websites more accessible and giving your
thoughts on the subject to the W3C, you can review the WCAG 2.0 document at
http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-wcag2-req-20020426/ and submit your comments
there.




Kathleen Anderson, Webmaster
Office of the State Comptroller
Hartford, Connecticut, 06106, USA
voice: 860.702.3355 fax: 860.702.3634
e-mail: kathleen.anderson@po.state.ct.us
URL: http://www.osc.state.ct.us/
Received on Sunday, 19 May 2002 10:05:12 GMT

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