By which I mean, what is currently going on in the world of the next generation of web content accessibility guidelines? It’s been almost a year since I wrote on the feelings against WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2 when it was initially bumped to a “Last Call Working Draft” — so it’s worth addressing what’s been happening since then.
First of all, WCAG 2 is still in the “Last Call Working Draft” stage, according to the Web Accessibility Initiative. There was never any expectation that this stage would be brief; but the WAI does believe they could be done this year.
Along with the gradual process of handling the numerous comments (or complaints, you might want to say), the WAI has also taken on the development of a number of other standards:
- Accessibility of Rich Internet Applications,
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, and
- convincing everybody that they have a real process and explaining how it works.
It’s an interesting complication that the greater communication about issues involving the development of new standards which comes about due to the coverage of bloggers and web authors can just as easily have the effect of confusing the issues, rather than explaining them. It seems like the WAI has concluded that they needed to write up a document explaining their process. Although I can’t help feeling somehow that this is intended to try and help market the new accessibility document, it is actually rather handy to have this information laid out plainly.
Fundamentally, WCAG 2 is getting closer to moving on to the next stage. As of March 2007, they claim to have made their way through most of the 900 (or so) comments they received on the documents, and are now working on:
- Discussing open comments and issues, and integrating resolutions
- Developing additional techniques for how to meet the guidelines
- Simplifying the language
- Improving the usability of the WCAG 2.0 documents
Can’t complain much about “Simplifying the language” or “Improving the usability” of the documents — although, to a certain degree, these are about the same things…
At any rate, it’ll be interesting to see whether they’ll require a second “Last Call.” The documentation states that a second Last Call Working Draft may be required when the changes are substantive…but the definition of substantive is not precisely fixed.