WAI - Web Accessibility Initiative
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium launched in 1997 to ensure that as the Internet grows in usage Web sites are designed to accommodate people with disabilities.
Examples of Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines
Web design can present barriers to people with disabilities, especially people with sensory or neurological disabilities. The WAI was implemented to ensure that Web site design addresses the needs of people with these disabilities. The following are examples of the accommodations that Web designers need to consider in order to be compliant with the WAI's guidelines.
- Visual disabilities -- people with visual disabilities can have trouble reading textand visual clues on a Web site. Blind users cannot rely on visual stimulation on a Web site.
- Hearing disabilities -- people with hearing disabilities are at a disadvantage on Web sites that do not offer captions for audio or that rely on sounds to navigate the site.
- Physical disabilities -- people with physical disabilities can have trouble navigating sites that do not offer keyboard or single-switch support for menu commands (i.e., sites that rely on navigation via mouse). People with physical disabilities can also be at a disadvantage in virtual reality, gesture recognition or haptic environments that rely on physical movement for interfacing.
- Neurological disabilities -- people with neurological disabilities can be at a disadvantage on sites that are complex to understand, do not have a consistent navigation structure, have a complex presentation of language or have flashing/strobing images and designs.
WAI and Web Design
The WAI has five levels of concern in Web design:
- Technology -- ensuring that current and developing Web technologies support accessibility.
- Guidelines -- developing guidelines for accessibility that web designers can follow.
- Tools -- developing tools that can evaluate the level of accessibility of a site.
- Education -- conducting education and outreach so that web designers and others will understand the need for continued and expanded accessibility. As the Web expands, the growth must address accessibility.
- Research and development -- coordinating with researchers and developers to ensure that accessibility is built into the technology instead of developing accessibility once a technology has been implemented.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »Slideshow: History of Microsoft Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating... Read More »Slideshow: Interesting Facts About Google Search
From Goats to Penguins, a server outage and trillions of searches, our slideshow presents interesting facts about Google and the Google.com... Read More »
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 2
This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »The 7 Layers of the OSI Model
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »