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Archive for October, 2008

Final Countdown To Long-Awaited Web Access Guidelines.

A long-awaited updated version of the main international standard for making websites accessible to people with disabilities is expected to be published in December, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C – http://www.w3c.org) have been in development for several years.

The first version of the WCAG guidelines now dates back around a decade, and though it has proved a vital tool for raising awareness of accessibility issues it has long been seen as over-technical, complex and unclear in many situations.

Version 2.0 is set to address many of these problems by moving away from rigid technical ‘checkpoints’ to more flexible ‘success criteria.’ (more…)

People With Impaired Vision ‘Less Likely To Be Employed’

People with visual impairments are less likely to be employed than people with other disabilities, according to a report on the UK labour market experiences of people with sight problems prepared for the RNIB by the Institute of Employment Studies (http://fastlink.headstar.com/ies1).

The report was compiled through secondary analysis of the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS – http://fastlink.headstar.com/lfs1) over the period July 2004 to June 2007. The LFS recorded 184,000 people of working age in the UK who describe themselves as havingĀ  seeing difficulties’. Of those 108,000 are classed as disabled, 95,000 of whom have a ‘work-limiting’ disability.

The RNIB report finds people over 55 are three times more likely to have seeing difficulties as those in the 16-24 age bracket, which is a greater increase with age than with other kinds of disabilities. (more…)

Recession Is Poor Excuse For Exclusion, Analyst Warns.

Organisations should not use the economic downturn as a reason not to carry out work to make their websites more accessible to people with disabilities, a leading analyst said this week.

In fact there is extensive evidence that an economic downturn is a good time to increase such activity, with significant opportunities to increase market share, Ted Page of PWS web services told the Law Society of Scotland’s ‘Nothing But The Net’ conference (http://www.lawscot.org.uk/update/NBTN/).
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Organisation in the Spotlight – W3C: Global Standards Giant Gears Up For Battle

With the long-awaited appearance of version 2 of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) now expected in December, the spotlight is set to fall once more on the workings of this key international standards body.

The consortium, known as W3C, was founded in 1994 by the inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee, who remains its director. It functions as a developer and repository of key technical standards and protocols that are needed to be shared by technology companies and users to ensure that the web remains open and universal.

With a current membership of more than 400 organisations, from large multinational technology companies to universities and charities, W3C has three main global bases: the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) at the Sophia Antipolis technology park in the South of France; Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Technology Laboratory; and Keio University in Japan.

The consortium has a core staff of around 70, with around 30 in Europe, 30 in the US and 10 Japan. But the actual headcount of those involved in its work is more than 500 if a tally is taken of everyone in the consortium’s working groups, interest groups, and the wider community.
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