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Adopts W3C guidelines for accessibility

by rcooper — last modified Oct 20, 2011 10:36 AM

(R) Adopts W3C guidelines for accessibility

What is Accessibility?

An accessible website allows users who are physically disabled to access the website with a minimum of inconvenience. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)1 in 1999 to address accessibility issues and to promote a set of standards that will educate developers in building websites that can accommodate common disabilities.

The W3C recently issued draft Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.02 which provides a set of 12 guidelines that make Web content more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. The guidelines are organized under four principles. Under each principle there is a set of guidelines. Each set has testable success criteria, three levels of conformance for different disability groups and situations, and suggestions of how to implement the guidelines along with examples

An objective of the United Nations’ Department of Public Information is to comply with the Web Content Accessibility guidelines of the W3C for all UN websites. They have a set of guidelines available for Making Accessible Websites for the United Nations.3

Below are some common ways to make a website accessible.
  • Image alternatives – Provide text alternatives for graphic content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  • Video and Audio alternatives – Provide alternatives for pre-recorded audio and video by using transcripts, captions, and file descriptions.
  • Readability – Make it easier for users to see and hear content by separating foreground from background using high-contrast colours between background and text and by resizing text.
  • Keyboard – All functionality of the content should be able to operate via a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes.

    Accessibility policy

It is IW:LEARN's policy that its websites shall be clear and simple for everybody to use. All project websites should conform to specifications laid out by the W3C. Use of these standards provides a solid foundation for website accessibility. Similarly, it is the policy of the UN that its websites address accessibility guidelines.3


1 Web Accessibility Initiative. Available online at http://www.w3c.org/WAI/. [Accessed 31 July 2009].

2 Web Accessibility Guidelines. Available online at http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php. [Accessed 9 August 2009].

3 UN, Department of Communications (2009). Making Accessible Websites for the United Nations. Available online at http://www.un.org/webaccessibility/guidelines.shtml. [Accessed 6 September 2009].


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