Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » W »

WAI

Pronounced way. Short for the Web Accessibility Initiative, 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.

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 text and 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.

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.






TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
Apple Pay Promises to Strengthen Payment Security

Experts believe that Apple Pay and other competitive payment systems will be far more secure than cards, even cards equipped with EMV chips. Read More »

Internet of Things Shaping IT's Future

To make the IoT both work and pay off, IT is juggling upgrading and building app-centric networks, mapping out new data center architectures and... Read More »

What You Don't Read Can Hurt You

Does this sound familiar? An online service promises to help your small business cut costs, increase productivity, make your coffee and walk your... Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
Webopedia Polls

The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »

How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »

Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »