PROPOSED Accessibility Guidelines Working Group Charter
The mission of the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is to develop specifications to support making implementations of web technologies accessible for people with disabilities, and to develop and maintain implementation support materials.
This proposed charter is available on GitHub. Feel free to raise issues.
|Charter Status||Draft updated charter under AC review|
|Start date||1 May 2023 (possibly earlier; see 2022-10-28 AC announcement)|
|End date||(Start date + 2 years)|
|Additional Team Support||
Face-to-face: we will meet during the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants, usually no more than 3 per year.
Motivation for Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG)
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, and also benefits older users and people without disabilities. Accessible design improves overall user experience and satisfaction, especially in a variety of situations, and across different devices. It is essential that several different components of web development and interaction work together in order for the web to be accessible to people with disabilities. These components include content technologies, web content, web browsers and media players, assistive technology, users, developers, authoring tools, and evaluation tools. Groups in the Web Accessibility Initiative work together to address accessibility for all the components.
The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group describes the characteristics of accessible web content, in the form of guidance to content developers. It also describes support from other components needed for its advice to work, such as technologies, user agents, and authoring tools. Guidelines from this Working Group are widely used by developers and implementers, referenced in industry policy, and benefit all web users.
Focus for the 2022 - 2024 Charter
The goal of this 2022 - 2024 AG WG charter will be to put into wide (public) review one or more draft documents that demonstrate all major components of W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3 and how they fit together. During this charter period, the WG will propose an approach for public review that addresses each of the WCAG 3 requirements and known challenges. Examples of known challenges include:
- Rewriting existing guidelines,
- Adding guidance to address known gaps in WCAG 2,
- Creating new guidelines for emerging technologies, and
- Complex conformance questions, such as third-party content, scoring, accessibility statements, etc.
Requirements or challenges will need a demonstrated solution that has AG WG consensus by the end of this charter or will be excluded from WCAG 3. Solutions will not all be complete at the end of this charter period, but they will be sufficiently mature so that reviewers can understand the intended scope of WCAG 3 as a whole, and will have enough depth to understand how conformance evaluations for WCAG 3 will work.
By the end of the 2022 - 2024 charter AG WG will:
- Know what will and will not be part of WCAG 3,
- have a timeline for delivering WCAG 3, and
- have decided how WCAG 3 will be delivered (all at once, in phases, or as modules.)
The primary objective of the AG WG during this charter period is to publish one or more wide review draft(s) of WCAG 3. The goal is to get broad support for the scope and direction of WCAG 3 and work out how the requirements for WCAG 3 can be met, including better coverage across disabilities, and be easier to maintain, so that the new framework will be more durable as technologies evolve. These wide review(s) of WCAG 3 will include the following:
- A preliminary set of guidelines (not including outcomes or methods),
- A representative set of outcomes worked out in detail, along with all methods and documentation necessary to understand and test those outcomes,
- At least one example of each type/category of testing or evaluation approach,
- A candidate conformance model, and
- An approach on testing emerging technologies (if included).
WCAG 3 will not be brought to Recommendation during this charter period. Results of the wide review(s) will determine scope and timeline for further work in the following charter period. Deliverables and timelines for WCAG 3 are further precised in the WCAG 3 project plan.
Additional WCAG 3 Publications
AG WG will explore options for publishing WCAG 3 in stages or as modules. If any part of the initial WCAG 3 will be published as a stand-alone resource, a draft will be made available within this charter period. If a transitional document between WCAG 2.2 and WCAG 3 is to be created (such as a WCAG 2.3 or WCAG 2.9), a first draft of it will be published by the end of the charter.
WCAG 3 Conformance Model
In this charter period, AG WG will define a working conformance model for WCAG 3. If any part of the initial WCAG 3 recommendation will be published as a stand-alone resource, a draft will be made available within this charter period.
Non WCAG 3 Scope
In addition to WCAG 3, the group continues existing work and materials support commitments:
- updates WCAG2ICT with non-normative guidance on applying WCAG 2.1 and WCAG 2.2 to non-web technology,
- continues addressing open WCAG 2 issues and public feedback and maintains interpretive support materials for its normative guidance (Understanding WCAG 2, WCAG 2 Techniques),
- performs secondary research, and engages with primary researchers, to understand better the needs of specific user groups (such as Accessibility Requirements for People with Low Vision, Cognitive Accessibility User Research),
- conducts gap analyses against deployed features to identify accessibility guidance needs (such as Cognitive Accessibility Roadmap and Gap Analysis, Mobile Accessibility: How WCAG 2.0 and Other W3C/WAI Guidelines Apply to Mobile),
- develops Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules Format 1.1, to keep ACT rules compatible with WCAG 3, and enable writing rules that have proven difficult to write under version 1.0,
- provides evaluation guidance and test materials to support verification of conformance to normative guidance (such as Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules Format 1.0),
- develops supplemental guidance, beyond that in the normative guidance, that describes enhanced accessibility for certain scenarios (such as Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities), and
- maintains errata for content developed by predecessor groups (such as Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0).
Out of Scope
The following features are out of scope, and will not be addressed by this Working group.
- The AG WG is not, and does not aspire to be, the central repository for accessibility support data.
- The AG WG does not perform conformance evaluations and reviews.
- The AG WG does not provide normative guidance on non-web technologies; however, informational guidance may include examples outside the scope of the web.
- The AG WG is not currently working on the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines or the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines specifications, except to maintain errata, though some content may be relevant to and included in WCAG 3.
Updated document status is available on the group publication status page.
Draft state indicates the state of the deliverable at the time of the charter approval. Expected completion indicates when the deliverable is projected to become a Recommendation, or otherwise reach a stable state.
The Working Group will deliver the following W3C normative specifications:
- W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0
This specification presents a new model and guidelines to make web content and applications accessible to people with disabilities. It supports a wide set of user needs, uses new approaches to testing, and allow frequent maintenance of guidelines and related content to keep pace with accelerating technology change. WCAG 3.0 supports this evolution by focusing on users’ functional needs. Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to people with a wide range of functional needs.
Draft state: Working Draft
Expected completion: Q2 2026
Adopted Draft: W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0 W3C Working Draft 07 December 2021
Exclusion Draft: W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0 W3C First Public Working Draft 21 January 2021
Exclusion Draft Charter: https://www.w3.org/2019/12/ag-charter
- ACT Rules Format 1.1
This specification defines the format, logic, and implementation of accessibility test rules.
Draft state: Editor's Draft
Expected completion: Q3 2024
Non-Normative Technical Reports
The Working Group publishes formal non-normative guidance such as:
- Updates to Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies (WCAG2ICT).
- Working Group Notes supporting the Accessibility Conformance Rules Format 1.0.
- Working Group Notes to support understanding and interpretation of other deliverables as the need arises.
Other non-normative documents may be created such as:
- Ongoing updates of non-normative resources to understand and implement guidance, including the current Understanding WCAG 2.x and Techniques for WCAG 2.x as well as new resources to support implementation of WCAG 3.
- Requirements for WCAG 3.0, noting that it is a living document and this charter defines the scope of the group’s work.
- Mapping guidance and / or other materials to support transition between WCAG 2.x and WCAG 3.
- Publications supporting the Accessibility Conformance Rules Format 1.0, such as instances of ACT Rules.
- Errata for WCAG 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2.
- Errata for ATAG 2.0.
The Working Group maintains currrent timeline estimates in its wiki.
- Q1 2023: FPWD for ACT Rules Format 1.1
- Q3 2024: Wide review draft of W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0.
- Q3 2024: Recommendation of ACT Rules Format 1.1.
In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each normative specification is expected to have at least two independent implementations of every feature defined in the specification.
Each specification should contain sections detailing all known security and privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.
There should be testing plans for each specification, starting from the earliest drafts.
There should be sufficient techniques and tests for each specification, starting from the earliest drafts. To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications should have tests.
For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, performance, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD. The Working Group is encouraged to engage collaboratively with the horizontal review groups throughout development of each specification. The Working Group is advised to seek a review at least 3 months before first entering CR and is encouraged to proactively notify the horizontal review groups when major changes occur in a specification following a review.
Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:
- Accessibility Education and Outreach Working Group
- Coordinate on making WCAG 2.x and WCAG 3.0 usable by a wider audience, on developing or reviewing strategies and materials to increase awareness and to educate Web community about WCAG 2.x and 3.0.
- Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group
- Provide input into other W3C groups on accessibility requirements, and coordinate on development and adoption of functional needs and maturity model.
- ARIA Working Group
- Review and help develop WCAG 2.x Techniques for WAI-ARIA.
- Cascading Style Sheets Working Group
- Advise on WCAG conformance interpretations of CSS features.
- EPub 3 Working Group
- Coordinate on accessibility guidelines that impact digital publishing.
- Internationalization Working Group
- Ensure that references to internationalization techniques are correct, and to ensure that language can be translated successfully.
- WAI Interest Group
- Provide input on group deliverables and explore ideas for consideration and further development.
This section is a non-exclusive list of organizations that may take up WAI guidelines into policies. The Working Group seeks to develop standards that can be incorporated into policies globally and expects to accomplish this through broad review and involvement. AG WG will liaise with these organizations at key stages but recommends direct participation in the Working Group where possible.
- U.S. Access Board
- Review of specification
- Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization which may administer C-81 the Accessible Canada Act
- Review of specification
- European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
- Establish liaison with the ETSI Human Factors Technical Committee for collaboration and specification review.
- European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
- Review of specification
- European Commission
- Review of specification
- National Information Society Agency (NIA)
- Review of specification
- RERC for the Advancement of Cognitive Technologies
- Review of specification
- RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access
- Review of specification
- Chinese Disabled People's Federation (CDPF)
- Review of specification
- Japanese Industry Standards Organization (JIS)
- Review of specification
To be successful, this Working Group is expected to have 15 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs, specification Editors, and Test Leads are expected to contribute half of a working day per week towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.
Key implementers of WCAG (desktop and non-desktop environments) include Web content developers (page authors, site designers, etc.), Web authoring tool developers, Web accessibility evaluation tool developers, user agent tool developers, and people with disabilities.
The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.
The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.
Participants in the group are required (by the W3C Process) to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed in public repositories and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.
Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group home page.
This group conducts email discussion on the public mailing list email@example.com (archive). Task forces and sub-groups may use additional lists or other communication mechanisms documented on their home pages. Discussion of issues for specific deliverables generally takes place in the GitHub repository identified for the deliverable. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.
The group may use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a participant requests such a discussion.
This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (Section 5.2.1, Consensus). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.
However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress and consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote and record a decision along with any objections.
The Working Group maintains specific procedures to establish and measure consensus and address objections in the AG Working Group Decision Policy.
Note: The AG WG has maintained a supplemental decision policy to support the review needed for decisions that can impact regulatory content. A recent update preserves this for stable content while reducing procedural requirements for content that is still under development. The scope of this charter combines maintenance of the mature WCAG 2.x with innovation of WCAG 3. Because of this complex scope, the WG chairs view the decision policy changes as essential to WG success. The updated decision policy should be reviewed together with this draft charter.
This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 5.2.3, Deciding by Vote) and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.
This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 15 September 2020). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Web specifications that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis. For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the licensing information.
This Working Group will use the W3C Document license for all its deliverables.
About this Charter
This charter has been created according to section 3.4 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.
The following table lists details of all changes from the initial charter, per the W3C Process Document (Section 4.3, Advisory Committee Review of a Charter):
|Charter Period||Start Date||End Date||Changes|
|Initial Charter||6 October 1997||<not set>||Develop Understanding Web Access Issues, later named Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0; document supporting quicklists.|
|Rechartered 2001||18 June 2001||May 2002, extended to June 2004||Add WCAG 2.0 and supporting techniques to its deliverables.|
|Rechartered 2005||1 January 2005||31 December 2006; extended to 30 April 2007, 31 December 2007, 30 June 2008, 31 December 2008, 30 June 2009, 9 August 2009||Incorporation of Quality Assurance (QA) Framework into its mission; updated descriptions of supporting deliverables for WCAG 2.0, especially including test suites and implementation reports; updated dependency statements; updated language where necessary to align with June 2003 W3C Process Document.|
|Rechartered 2010||14 September 2010||30 June 2013; extended to 30 September 2013, 18 May 2015, 15 July 2015, and 24 September 2015||Transitioned to maintain support resources for WCAG 2.0.|
|Rechartered 2015||24 September 2015||31 July 2018||Added recommendation-track work in the form of extensions to WCAG 2.0; increased focus on work to address needs related to mobile devices, cognitive impairments and learning disabilities,digital learning materials, and low vision; more work on accessibility support documentation and testing.|
|Rechartered 2017||27 January 2017||31 October 2019, extended to 31 December 2019||Changing from publishing normative extensions for multiple topics to a consolidated WCAG 2.1 and adding new publication for Accessibility Conformance Testing Framework 1.0.|
|New Co-Chair||27 February 2018||Alastair Campbell joins Andrew Kirkpatrick as co-chair; Joshue O Connor steps down as co-chair.|
|Rechartered 2019||19 December 2019||31 October 2022||Added WCAG 2.2 and moved previously incubated Silver to Recommendation Track.|
|New Co-Chairs||4 March 2020||Chuck Adams and Rachael Montgomery join Alastair Campbell as co-chairs; Andrew Kirkpatrick steps down as co-chair.|
|Chair Affiliation||24 September 2021||Rachael Montgomery re-appointed as group chair after affiliation changed.|
|Charter Extension||28 October 2022||30 April 2023||Charter extended until 30 April 2023.|
Changes to this document are documented in this section.