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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Last Call

A Last Call Working Draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) has been released by the W3C for broad community review and comment. WCAG 2.0 addresses accessibility of web content for people with disabilities. It will apply to a wider range of web technologies than WCAG 1.0, and is intended to be understandable to a wider audience. Comments are due on or before June 22, 2006.

A good place to start a review of WCAG 2.0 is with the Overview of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Documents. The Overview explains the relationships between WCAG 2.0 and the two supporting documents developed to support WCAG 2.0: Understanding WCAG 2.0 and Techniques for WCAG 2.0. These supporting documents will be released as Working Group Notes when WCAG 2.0 becomes a Recommendation.

Comments are invited on any issues which could present a significant barrier to future adoption and implementation of WCAG 2.0. In particular, reviewers are encouraged to comment on the conformance model and success criteria. Suggestions for how to address issues as well as positive feedback are also appreciated. In addition, the WCAG Working Group invites commitments to implement the guidelines. Comments may be made in one of four formats: online form, downloadable Excel file, downloadable HTML file, or email. Instructions and downloadable files are available for all formats.

Publication as a Last Call Working Draft indicates that the WCAG Working Group believes it has addressed all substantive issues and that the document is stable. The Working Group believes that after Last Call, WCAG 2.0 will be ready to move on to the final stages of the W3C Recommendation Track Process. Until WCAG 2.0 becomes a W3C Recommendation, WCAG 1.0 will continue to be the current and stable document to use. Most web sites that conform to WCAG 1.0 should not require significant changes in order to conform to WCAG 2.0, and may not need any changes.

The first public Working Draft of WCAG 2.0 was published January 25, 2001. Since then the WCAG Working Group has published nine Working Drafts, addressed more than 1,000 issues, and developed a variety of supporting resources for the guidelines.

The Trace Center has been a leader and key contributor in the development of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Trace Center Director Gregg Vanderheiden has been the co-chair of the WCAG Working Group since its inception. Vanderheiden, co-chair John Slatin, of the University of Texas at Austin, Trace Web Accessibility Specialist Ben Caldwell, and Trace Center alumnus Wendy Chisholm, now with the W3C, are co-editors of the guidelines.

For more information, visit the home page of the Web Accessibility Initiative and the Call for Review.

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