W3C column

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organisation for the Internet. 

A key part of the W3C's work is to ensure that all people are able to access online information, so the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) was introduced to address accessibility issues faced by people with disabilities. 

The WAI includes the creation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and other standards and techniques designed to make Internet content more accessible.

In 2009, Media Access Australia joined the W3C with Dr Scott Hollier appointed as the organisation's Advisory Committee representative, in order to play an increasingly active role in web and new media accessibility.

Media Access Australia empowers disadvantaged people through knowledge about media accessibility and existing mainstream, affordable technological solutions.

This column, written by Dr Hollier, will provide insights into the exciting access-related developments of the W3C. It will also illustrate the role Media Access Australia plays in assisting both government and industry in the implementation of W3C standards.

As of 1 August, the W3C column will be housed in the news section of the Access iQ website.

Latest updates

The National Transition Strategy - is it on track?

2 July 2012

The deadline for Level A accessibility on all Federal Government websites is just 6 months away. Dr Scott Hollier asks "are they going to make it?" and shares his insights into what it will take for the NTS to stay on schedule.

The ghost of accessibility past - the rise of specialist screen reader solutions

1 June 2012

The New York Times has just announced the development of a version just for screen reader users. Are these good intentions setting news websites back to the days of WCAG 1.0?

Message received – introducing WCAG-EM and WAI-Engage

1 May 2012

Our representative on the W3C, Dr Scott Hollier, talks about how the W3C community is addressing the challenge of accessibility testing and the need for newcomers to have access to shared knowledge.

Simplifying the web accessibility message - reflections on CSUN 2012

1 April 2012

Inspired by the CSUN 27th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, Dr Scott Hollier discusses how web accessibility can be brought into the mainstream.

The hidden treasures of HTML5 accessibility

1 March 2012

HTML5 has a wealth of benefits for accessibility. This month, Dr Scott Hollier talks through some of the lesser known features of HTML5 which enhance the usability of websites.

The inner workings of WAI: an interview with Shadi Abou-Zahra

1 February 2012

As a special start to the year, Dr Scott Hollier interviews the program leader of the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative, Shadi Abou-Zahra. Scott and Shadi sit down to chat about life at the coal face of web accessibility.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative - 2011 in review

1 December 2011

This year has seen a number of significant developments from the Web Accessibility Initiative. In his last column for 2011, Dr Scott Hollier reviews the major steps forward.

Captioning online video - it's not as hard as you might think

1 November 2011

There is a perception amongst web professionals that captioning online videos is both difficult and unnecessary. Here, Dr Hollier explains how captioning is not only essential for WCAG 2.0, it's actually very easy. The November column will focus on the simplest methods to achieve quality captions on all videos placed within a website.

Online audio description - 5 tips for best practice

1 October 2011

Audio description increases the accessibility of online video for blind and vision impaired users. This month's column will step through the methods you can employ to make audio description an easy and achievable part of your website.

Keyboard functionality for websites - creating order, avoiding traps

1 September 2011

The keyboard is a vital alternative to mouse navigation for users with vision or mobility impairment. While much of the functions are already built into operating systems, developers need to be aware of how to optimise the experience for keyboard users and avoid the traps that can occur.

Text alternatives - a practical guide to images, CAPTCHAs and best practice

1 August 2011

Starting this month, the column will begin to focus on some of the accessibility issues faced by those who build or maintain websites. Here, Dr Scott Hollier talks through some of the things to consider when using images and CAPTCHAs.

Top 5 web accessibility pitfalls

1 July 2011

Dr Scott Hollier’s top 5 for accessibility misconceptions and pitfalls made by decision-makers and developers in trying to address accessibility issues.

Auditing website accessibility: the role of EARL and evaluation tools

1 June 2011

In light of the the Evaluation and Repair Working Group's Last Call request for the Working Draft of Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) 1.0 Schema, it’s a good time to look at the issues around website evaluation and the techniques developers can use to perform their own website audit.

IE9 and Firefox 4: let the standards showdown begin!

2 May 2011

This year has seen the rapid evolution of the HTML 5 standard and the release of two new major web browsers, Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 4. But are web browsers and assistive technologies working in harmony?

Social web accessibility: the semantic web and RDFa

1 April 2011

The evolution of social media has led to a rapid change in the way we perceive the internet.

The mobile web and access potential

2 March 2011

For people with disabilities, the pace of mobile evolution raises an important question. With a wealth of accessibility solutions available to computers with fully-fledged operating systems, will the mobile web provide the same level of support?

HTML 5 – updates and logos and WAI, oh my!  A busy start to 2011

3 February 2011

January seems to be one of the busiest times, especially in technology circles. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas always provides a great showcase of new products, and the W3C keeps churning out new updates, focusing heavily on HTML 5.

The W3C web accessibility Initiative - 2010 year in review

23 December 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect back on the year that was and look at the progress and contribution made by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and others making use of the relevant web standards.

WCAG 2.0 'AAA' - Is it worth it?

2 December 2010

The adoption of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards has been a great success...there is considerable debate about the level to which the guidelines should be implemented.

WAI-ARIA: the specifics

4 November 2010

November's post looks further into WAI-ARIA and how accessibility issues are addressed.

Introduction to WAI-ARIA: it’s accessibility, but not as we know it

5 October 2010

As the W3C makes its last call for input on the WAI-ARIA working draft, people often ask why WAI-ARIA was created, how it relates to WCAG 2.0 and why it’s so important. This post will look at the history of WAI-ARIA, and why it can make such a big difference to the accessibility of the Internet.

HTML5 media player accessibility: the potential and the reality

6 September 2010

As multitouch, tablet and portable multimedia devices become more popular the promise of drag-and-drop functionality and standardised video could have a great impact on our productivity and entertainment needs.  

An exploration of the accessibility potential of  HTML5

20 August 2010

Welcome to the first posting of the column. One of the most significant developments in the W3C that has access implications is the creation of HTML5, so here's a brief introduction into some of the potential benefits and issues.

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