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News Release: W3C Announces Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications

From: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 10:53:06 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

W3C Announces Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI- ARIA)

W3C's WAI-ARIA Features Will Enable Accessible Dynamic Web Sites

Web Resources

         This press release
                 In English: 
                 In French: http://www.w3.org/2006/09/aria-pressrelease.html.fr
                 In Japanese: 

         The Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)

         Roles for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA Roles)

         States and Properties Module for Accessible Rich Internet
Applications (WAI-ARIA States)

http://www.w3.org/ -- 26 September 2006  -- Today, W3C's Web
Accessibility Initiative (WAI) introduces a suite of documents that
will make it easier for Web site developers to make dynamic Web
content usable to people with disabilities. The First Public Working
Drafts of the Accessible Rich Internet Application suite include 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," explained Rich Schwerdtfeger, IBM
Distinguished Engineer and author of the WAI-ARIA Roadmap. "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."

Dynamic Web Content Currently Excludes Many Users

Assistive technologies, including screen readers, speech dictation
software, and on-screen keyboards help make the Web accessible to
people with disabilities. To accomplish this, these tools require
information about the semantics of specific portions of a document in
order to present those portions in an accessible form. For example,
to provide reliable access to a form element, a tool must also be
able to recognize the state of that element (for example, whether it
is checked, disabled, focused, collapsed, or hidden).

Web sites are increasingly delivering applications with capabilities
comparable to locally-installed software. These rich Internet
applications make heavy use of scripting, and developers often
improvise hybrids of existing technologies, including AJAX, DHTML,
JavaScript, and SVG. These applications do not always provide the
semantics needed to support these technologies. People with
disabilities are therefore at risk of being left out of this new
world of information.

The WAI-ARIA Suite Provides Framework for Accessible Dynamic Web Content

The Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA
Roadmap) describes an overall approach for ensuring interoperability
between rich Internet applications and assistive technologies used by
people with disabilities. The approach relies on technologies already
developed or under development by W3C, such as the XHTML Role
Attribute Module. In addition, the WAI-ARIA Roadmap presents a gap
analysis identifying technologies that may still be needed to ensure
accessible rich Internet applications. Two companion documents
explain how to bridge those gaps: Roles for Accessible Rich Internet
Applications (WAI-ARIA Roles) and States and Properties Module for
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA States).

"We see a tremendous opportunity for Web developers in ARIA,"
explained Lisa Seeman of UB Access and editor of WAI-ARIA Roles and
WAI-ARIA States. "By providing a system and techniques for making
dynamic Web content more accessible, we can give content developers
what they need to improve the Web experience for a broader range of

Working Group Encourages Early Review and Feedback

The WAI-ARIA Roadmap has been developed within W3C by the Protocols
and Formats Working Group (PFWG), which includes industry leaders,
research, and disability organizations including Adobe Systems,
America Online, Inc., IBM, Opera Software, Oracle Corporation, Royal
National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), and SAP AG. The Working
Group is chaired by Al Gilman.

The work of the PFWG serves as part of the technical foundation for
W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), making the vision of a Web
accessibility for all a reality. PFWG is now focusing its attention
on refining the WAI-ARIA suite, with the intention of developing
early implementations. W3C invites the Web development community to
review and comment on these publications and subsequent drafts on the
public-pfwg-comments@w3.org mailing list.
Contact America --
     Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe --
     Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94
Contact Asia --
     Yasuyuki Hirakawa, <chibao@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium
where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work
together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission
through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to
ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are
Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer
Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the
USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics
(ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan, and has
additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http:// www.w3.org/

About the Web Accessibility Initiative [WAI]

W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) partners with organizations
around the world, pursuing Web accessibility by ensuring that core
technologies of the Web support accessibility; developing guidelines
for Web content, user agents, and authoring tools; facilitating
development of evaluation and repair tools for accessibility;
conducting education and outreach; and coordinating with research and
development that can affect future accessibility of the Web. WAI is
supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education; European
Commission's Information Society Technologies Programme; Fundación
ONCE; IBM; Microsoft Corporation; SAP; Verizon Foundation; and Wells

Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
MIT/CSAIL Building 32-G530
32 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA
Received on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 15:02:12 UTC

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