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Buzz Archives: Accessibility

New Zealand Hearts Standards

In a sweeping online initiative, the New Zealand government has set a 1 January 2006 deadline for all government websites to comply (article no longer available) with the national accessibility guidelines. The mandates were issued in the spirit of ensuring New Zealanders' right of access to government information and services ...

By Ethan Marcotte | April 6th, 2004

Opera, IBM voice

ZDNet this week, offers up news where Standards meets Accessibility and Emerging technology with “Opera's browser finds its voice,” by Matt Loney and Paul Festa. Opera is adding voice control to its browser, enabling users to browse the Web and fill in voice-enabled Web forms by talking to their PC. ...

By Holly Marie Koltz | March 26th, 2004

Code As I Say, Not As I Do

The World Wide Web Conference is entering its thirteenth year, preparing for yet another round of action-packed W3-related developer events and presentations. Funny thing, though: their site's woefully invalid, inaccessible, and well nigh unusable. Littered with alt-bereft images and deprecated HTML, one wonders just how such a self-described prestigious series ...

By Ethan Marcotte | March 11th, 2004

Optimizing, Accessibility

A new feature at Digital Web Magazine, Optimizing Your Chances with Accessibility, by Brandon Olejniczak, explains how following the recommendations and guidelines for accessible web authoring will increase traffic and web site page rank on search engines. Brandon writes:A second important but often neglected benefit of accessible Web sites ...

By Holly Marie Koltz | March 11th, 2004

IE Navigation Just Got Better

We've had the ability to add navigation options via the link element for accessibility purposes for some time now. But as with so much of what ails, user agent adoption has been slow in coming, especially for Internet Explorer. Users of Mozilla may already be familiar with the Site Navigation Bar, ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | February 22nd, 2004

Sweet as chocolate, impenetrable as a Swiss bank vault

A recent study of Swiss administration and corporate sites says that out of 68 sites, only eight are fully accessible. In their detailed study, based on the WCAG 1.0 Guidelines, they found the usual stumbling blocks: Complex table layouts don't linearize Javascript navigation doesn't work without Javascript Form elements must be clearly labeled Non-scalable text ...

By Matthias Gutfeldt | February 9th, 2004

Accessible UK train timetable

Great Britain, while famous for many things, is perhaps best known for the efficiency and promptness with which it runs its rail systems. Each day millions of citizens are transported in comfort and style from the doorsteps of their homes, to offices, schools, shopping centres, and any number of other destinations. It's ...

By Dunstan Orchard | February 9th, 2004

Top businesses ignore accessibility

Businesses are missing a large audience by failing to make their Web sites accessible (news article no longer available). A Nomensa FTSE report finds that 79 percent of the Web sites did not provide alternate text for images, 56 percent did not have useful alternate text, and 77 percent did ...

By Meryl K. Evans | February 7th, 2004

Orkut no friend to the blind

Anders Jacobsen points out that Orkut, the latest in a seemingly endless string of social networking clones, fails the most basic accessibility requirement: ALT attributes on images. Specifically, the images that you select to accept or reject someone as your friend. So-and-so added you as a friend. Is So-and-so your friend? [LINK] ...

By Mark Pilgrim | February 3rd, 2004

The Business Case for Web Accessibility

Continuing the subject of accessibility, Andy Budd wrote a good article last week that makes the business case for catering to the widest audience possible. Andy identifies groups of people who have problems accessing the web, and explains how building web sites they are able to use can positively impact ...

By Dave Shea | January 24th, 2004

Accessibility: Looking Good

Still not convinced that good design can be accessible? Canada has no specific accessibility laws, per se, but that hasn't stopped my fellow countrymen Scott Baldwin and Michael Clarke from leading the way. Announced by Scott last year, a recent press release outlines the Vancouver-based North Shore Credit Union's push for ...

By Dave Shea | January 23rd, 2004

Online Event: IT Accessibility

The Information Technology Technical Assistance & Training Center (ITTATC) Announces An Audio Conference on January 26, 2004 from 2-4 PM ET. ITTATC provides accessibility training and technical assistance related to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act for industry, state officials, trainers, and consumers.

By Holly Marie Koltz | January 22nd, 2004

Good Gawds

With the inexcusably cheesy heading taken care of, I can move along to tell you that the Guild of Accessible Web Designers (GAWDS for short) is now open for business. The guild is seeking as many enthusiastic, members as possible during the 'soft launch' (with the official launch date early ...

By Ian Lloyd | December 2nd, 2003

Web standards in ASP.NET

An ASP.NET developer claims that the next version of ASP.NET will produce standards-compliant XHTML, and include a built-in markup validator and accessibility checker as well.

By Mark Pilgrim | November 25th, 2003

On Saving Web Accessibility

Joe Clark writes in A List Apart that web accessibility is under threat from its own guidelines An upcoming revision to the Web Accessibility Guidelines is in danger of becoming unrealistically divorced from real-world web development, yielding guidelines that are at once too vague and too specific. Your expertise ...

By Ian Lloyd | November 14th, 2003

A Shopping Cart That Checks Out

No matter how hard we try, there will always be web sites that refuse to validate, don't want to play ball where it comes to accessibility and laugh in the face of table-free CSS layouts - and mostly these sites are the type that are generated dynamically (be that a ...

By Ian Lloyd | November 12th, 2003

Seeking Students

Paul Bohman of is seeking college and university students with disabilities. He will be researching and conducting a study about the use of Web in higher education. Paul will conduct interviews over the next few weeks via phone, email, online chat, or in person(he is located in Logan Utah, ...

By Holly Marie Koltz | November 4th, 2003

He who casts the first stone

WatchFire, who bought out the Bobby accessibility checker last year, is back in the news with a new service called WebXACT, which rolls their old site checking service in with their new accessibility checker. The free online version lets you check single pages for quality, accessibility, and privacy issues; ...

By Mark Pilgrim | October 24th, 2003

Flash for Flash’s sake

Adrian Holovaty points out that ESPN's World Series 100th Anniversary site is a classic example of unnecessary Flash usage. Flash is certainly a popular choice for rich multimedia presentations, and when done right it can produce stunning results. But in this case, ESPN has chosen create the entire ...

By Mark Pilgrim | October 18th, 2003

AOL Captions Streaming Media

America Online has announced the availability of closed captions on the service for select multimedia content that will enhance the online experience for members who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. While this might be reason to celebrate, I've heard horror stories about AOL Broadband and we know AOL itself isn't the ...

By Meryl K. Evans | October 9th, 2003

A ‘Rally’ Good Read

For the past month, almost all of my free time has gone to writing presentation material for the advanced training session of AIR-Austin. So writes James Craig of Cookiecrook about his Accessibility Internet Rally 2003 Advanced Training Material. And what can I say, other than it was time very ...

By Ian Lloyd | October 3rd, 2003

Web Standards Are Not Web Accessibility

In response to the recent BBC accessibility BUZZ, Isofaro writes: “To meet level A priority does not require a completely valid website, and does not require CSS for layout.” All true. The WasP on BBC Accessibility critique is very thorough and worth a read as it delves more deeply into the ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | September 20th, 2003

More Booty Than You Can Shake a Cutlass At

Arrrrr! There's new booty for all you land-lubbin' accessibility types out there. Old Silver Beard 'Dodgydom' accepted a challenge and with a toot on his hornpipe announced his victory. Avast, me beauties! Here be favelets! These lovelies will tell when your page has form elements that are missing <label> tags. ...

By Ian Lloyd | September 19th, 2003

A Closed Mouth Gathers No WaSPs: BBC Conformance Problems

The scrutiny began earlier today when a fellow WaSP posted the URL to a BBC article, Website owners face prosecution. The article discusses how the Royal National Institute for the Blind is beginning to crack down on Web sites not conforming to accessibility guidelines as described by the DDA and ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | September 18th, 2003

Why Zilla, You Are Blossoming

When Watchfire bought out the industry-standard accessibility checker, Bobby, a few notable things happened: The online service was restricted such that only a small number of validation tests could be performed online by any given user within a certain timeframe The free downloadable application (Bobby 3.2) was removed ...

By Ian Lloyd | September 17th, 2003

Skip Link Test Suite and Patent Greed

If you've been following the news about hiding skip links using the CSS declarations display: none or visibility: hidden, you'll know that screen readers may or may not be picking up the links. If you have a screen reader, you'll want to see (and hear) the test suite What do ...

By Molly E. Holzschlag | September 13th, 2003

Screenreader Invisibility

Bob Easton reports that the popular method of hiding accessibility-friendly "skip navigation" links from visual browsers also hides them from many screenreaders.Oh bloody hell.From a technical point of view, those screenreaders actually get it half right: display indeed applies to all media; but visibility applies to visual media only. Bob ...

By Matthias Gutfeldt | September 10th, 2003


Euroaccessibilty has updated its Web site with more information about its mission. EA has been founded to avoid a risk of fragmentation in Europe and to answer demands from governmental organisations. Apparently, there is a risk that the W3C/WAI guidelines may be promoted differently in different countries.

By Meryl K. Evans | September 3rd, 2003

Evaluating for Accessibility

How do we know if our sites are accessible? Even if we follow Standards and Guidelines for Markup and Accessibility websites may still be inaccessible to some users. Automated checks, following guidelines, and using specific applications have limitations. Lynx is a great tool to evaluate the accessibility of content delivery ...

By Holly Marie Koltz | September 3rd, 2003

A new set of JAWS

Well, with all this talk of free copies of JAWS, it seems timely that today Freedom Scientific are offering a public beta of JAWS 5.0. Correction - they were offering a free download, but because of some issues that people reported Freedom Scientific "made the decision to postpone the public ...

By Ian Lloyd | September 2nd, 2003

New Accessibility Resource from RNIB

The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) in the UK has launched a set of new accessibility information pages on its site today. The Web Access Centre was developed with the support of Standard Life who also support the RNIB's 'See It Right' campaign. Sections in the site include: ...

By Ian Lloyd | September 1st, 2003

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

Recent Buzz

Our Work Here is Done

By Aaron Gustafson | March 1st, 2013

Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality.

When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible.

Realizing that this fragmentation would inevitably drive up the cost of building websites and ran the risk of denying users access to content and services they needed, Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman co-founded WaSP and rallied an amazing group of web designers and developers to help them push back. The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

In 2001, with the browser wars largely over, WaSP began to shift its focus. While some members continued to work with browser vendors on improving their standards support, others began working closely with software makers like Macromedia to improve the quality of code being authored in tools such as Dreamweaver. And others began the hard slog of educating web designers and developers about the importance of using web standards, culminating in the creation of WaSP InterAct, a web curriculum framework which is now overseen by the W3C.

Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality. While there is still work to be done, the sting of the WaSP is no longer necessary. And so it is time for us to close down The Web Standards Project.

Many (if not all) of us are continuing to work in the world of web standards, but our work is now largely outside the umbrella of WaSP. If you are interested in continuing to work on web standards-related projects along with us, we humbly suggest you follow these projects:

  • A List Apart – The magazine “for people who make websites” is run by WaSP founder Jeffrey Zeldman and is a consistent source of forward-thinking articles and tutorials.
  • HTML5 Doctor – A solid resource and discussion forum on all things HTML5, brought to you by Bruce Lawson and his team.
  • W3C Community Groups – If you have a passion for a specific web technology, you can help make it better by participating in one (or more) community groups. In particular, you might be interested in one of these: Core Mobile Web Platform, Responsive Images, Web Education, and Web Media Text Tracks.
  • – A fantastic web standards resource, providing up-to-date documentation, Q&As, tutorials & more. Chris Mills, Doug Schepers, and a number of other standards advocates are involved in this project.
  • Web Standards Sherpa – An educational resource founded by WaSP which continues to operate under the leadership of Chris Casciano, Virginia DeBolt, Aaron Gustafson, and Emily Lewis.
  • Web Standards + Small Business – An outreach project started by WaSP that educates small businesses about why they should care about web standards. This project is overseen by Aaron Gustafson.

The job’s not over, but instead of being the work of a small activist group, it’s a job for tens of thousands of developers who care about ensuring that the web remains a free, open, interoperable, and accessible competitor to native apps and closed eco-systems. It’s your job now, and we look forward to working with you, and wish you much success.

Nota bene: In the near future, we will be making a permanent, static archive of and some of our other resources like WaSP Interact to preserve them as a resource and to provide a record of our 15-year mission to improve the web.
Bruce Lawson and Steph Troeth contributed to this post.

Filed in WaSP Announcement | Comments (89)

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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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