What is the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI™)?
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI™) is one of four domains of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C®). The W3C was created in 1994 to develop common protocols that promote the evolution of the World Wide Web and ensure its interoperability. The HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) specifications are two of the most familiar outcomes of W3C's work. The W3C has more than five hundred member organizations worldwide. Its domains are Architecture, User Interface, Technology and Society, and The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which works across the other three domains.
WAI pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary activities:
- ensuring that Web technologies support accessibility
- developing guidelines for accessibility
- developing tools to evaluate and facilitate accessibility
- conducting education and outreach
- coordinating with research and development
The second of these activities (developing guidelines) has yielded the following sets of W3C Recommendations (official guidelines) to date:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
W3C Recommendations are the highest level of Web technology standard attained within the W3C process. Additional sets of guidelines, plus updates to existing guidelines, are actively being developed and are currently W3C Working Drafts, on their way to becoming W3C Recommendations after multiple reviews and comment periods. The following guidelines are currently W3C Working Drafts:
- XML Accessibility Guidelines
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (Working Draft)
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
For more information about WAI, consult the WAI home page.