Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Open Invitation to Assistive Technology Vendors

We are writing to you as representatives of the Web Standards Project Accessibility and Assistive Technology Task Force. The Task Force was formed in 2005 to work with web developers, designers, standards groups, people that use assistive technology and people such as yourself – assistive technology vendors – to make the web more accessible for all.

About Us

Since its inception in 1998, the Web Standards Project (WaSP) has been campaigning for the general adoption of web standards. In its role as an advocate for modern best practices, it has continuously strived to educate web designers and developers to the advantages of web standards, and worked with high profile software vendors such as Adobe (formerly Macromedia) and Microsoft to ensure standards support in their products.

At this time, we are writing to formally offer you our expertise in the area of web standards in relation to accessibility, as well as the potential offered by our existing contact with the above mentioned software vendors, in the hope of being able to assist you in leveraging web standards for your company’s assistive technology product.

The Benefits of Web Standards for Accessibility

Web standards offer many specific markup elements and attributes that can aid accessibility, as they unequivocally define relationships, provide alternative content and give richer meaning to what would normally just be unstructured text. Many current assistive technologies, however, still do not consistently take full advantage of the possibilities offered by standards-compliant markup.

It is our hope that we might work together with you to make the web more accessible to all people, regardless of their abilities, through the potential offered by web standards.

Next Steps

As a group, we are very keen to look at some specific perceived shortfalls in current assistive technologies with regard to some HTML elements and would very much like to work collaboratively on some use cases with test suites that we would develop for this purpose.

It is the Web Standards Project’s policy to publicly applaud organisations that take steps to rectify such shortcomings (for example, browser vendors who have made concerted efforts to pass the Acid 2 test (see Acid 2 supported in Opera one year later, and ICab, Konqueror Pass Acid 2 for details) and while we do not recommend specific products ourselves, a note of recognition from an impartial organisation such as ourselves can go a long way to influencing individuals in this arena. If your engineers would be willing to work with us to improve these specific identified problems, we look forward to reporting on progress in the future.

Get In Touch

We look forward to hearing from yourselves and learning the name of a representative from your organisation who would be willing to act as a liaison between us. Please do drop us a line at [email protected]

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the Accessibility Task Force and relevant activities, please view our manifesto.

We look forward to working with you in order to help even more users of your assistive technology product to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by the web.

The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards which ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.

All of the entries posted in WaSP Buzz express the opinions of their individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the plans or positions of the Web Standards Project as a group.

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