W3C Issues Authoring Tool Guidelines

The Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Thursday released the “Authoring Tool Accessibility
Guidelines 1.0” (ATAG 1.0) specification as a recommendation.

The guidelines are meant to provide guidance to
developers on how to design accessible authoring tools that produce
accessible Web content. The W3C Recommendation indicates that the
specification is “stable, contributes to the universality of the Web, and
has been reviewed by the W3C Membership.”

The new Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 are designed to show
developers of authoring tools, such as HTML editors and site management
tools, how they can encourage the production of accessible Web content
through the use of prompts, alerts, checking, repair functions, and help
files to be included in their tools. Additionally, many of the principles
addressed in the specification promote interoperability of the Web in general.

The Guidelines also discuss the accessibility of the tool itself. As the
Web is not a read-only medium, accessible authoring tools can allow all
people to publish information on the Web, regardless of any disabilities
they may face. Implementation of ATAG 1.0 will contribute to the
proliferation of highly accessible Web content.

The new Authoring Tool Guidelines address many tools, including WYSIWYG
editors, “save-as-HTML” conversion tools, dynamic database tools,
formatting tools, image editors and site management tools, among others.
The ATAG 1.0 is made up of twenty-eight requirements for developing
accessible authoring tools that produce accessible content.

The ATAG 1.0 Recommendation was developed by members of the Authoring Tool
Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AUWG), a group which is composed of
key industry players along with disability and research organizations. The
group is now working on a variety of implementation support materials to
assist developers, including the “Techniques for Authoring Tool
Accessibility,” published today as a W3C Note.

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