1998 Conference Proceedings

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Judy Brewer
Director, Web Accessibility Initiative International Program Office
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C/MIT)

Daniel Dardailler
Project Manager, Web Accessibility Initiative
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C/INRIA)

Charles P. Letourneau
President, Starling Access Services

Masafumi Nakane
Web Accessibility Initiative
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C/Keio)


The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) commitment to lead the Web to its full potential includes promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities. The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative, in coordination with industry, disability organizations, research organizations and government, is pursuing accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education & outreach, and research & development.

A Partnership Model for Web Accessibility:

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), hosted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is a unique partnership of industry, disability organizations, research organizations and governments committed to making the Web accessible. The presence of these key stakeholders collaborating together in a vendor-neutral setting has already shown benefits in enabling more timely addressing of user requirements in developing Web specifications.

The WAI International Program Office:

The WAI International Program Office (IPO) focuses on education and outreach, as well as research and development. In addition, it coordinates with the WAI Technical Activity to ensure that the WAI accurately reflects user needs. The WAI IPO maintains an Interest Group for general discussion and input across all areas of WAI work.

Education and outreach to all sectors of the Web community tie together WAI's work in technology, guidelines, and tools. An Education and Outreach Interest Group, in formation, will guide the development of curriculum, demonstrations, workshops, and related materials to promote awareness of the need for Web accessibility. To help ensure the future accessibility of the Web, the WAI will also monitor research and development of user interfaces.

The WAI IPO enables partnering and coordination among the many stake-holders in Web accessibility: industry, disability organizations, government, and research organizations. The IPO is sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and the Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; the European Commission's TIDE Program, and W3C industry members including IBM/Lotus Development Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, NCR, and Riverland Holding. Disability and research organizations on several continents also actively participate in the WAI.

WAI Technical Activity:

The WAI Technical Activity encompasses the technology, guidelines and tools work of the WAI.

Staying Informed/Getting Involved:

The best way to stay informed of overall WAI activities, and to participate in general WAI discussions, is to subscribe to the general WAI/IPO Interest Group by sending a message to w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org with "subscribe" in the subject line.

For a less frequent (once a month only) update on WAI activities, subscribe to the WAI Monthly Bulletin by sending a message to w3c-wai-bulletin-request@w3.org with "subscribe" in the subject line.

To participate more actively, review the working groups and interest groups described on the WAI Web site ( http://www.w3.org/WAI ) and contact WAI staff or group chairs if you are interested in joining.

Resources on Web Accessibility:

One of the goals of the WAI is to make many kinds of resources on Web accessibility available. Please revisit the WAI home page at http://www.w3.org/WAI frequently as we will be adding resources on an on-going basis.

Current resources include:

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