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February Milestone On Road To Web Access Guidelines

Another step towards publication of the long-awaited international
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) will be
reached on 1 February, with the closing of the call for public comment
on a final working draft.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the web standards body
responsible for WCAG 2.0, says the project “may” now be completed
in 2008. It will have been a long journey: the first working draft was
published in 2001 and since then eleven different versions have been
produced addressing more than 2,500 issues raised in public
consultation. Previously promised publication targets have come and
gone several times.

The guidelines are the main international benchmark for accessibility
of websites to people with disabilities. According to W3C, WCAG 2.0
will apply more broadly to different web technologies as they develop
in the future. The WCAG 2.0 requirements will also be more testable,
and better guidance for compliance will be issued.

The three current levels of compliance – ‘A’, ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ – will
remain, although the series of prioritised ‘checkpoints’ of WCAG 1.0
will be replaced by ‘success criteria’ which can be graded by level. For
example, for on-screen text, a colour contrast ratio of at least 5:1 would
meet level AA requirements, while 7:1 would meet AAA.

Most web sites that conform to WCAG 1.0 should not require
significant changes in order to conform to WCAG 2.0, and some
organisations have already started to use the draft guidelines, according
to W3C. Issues and comments on the latest draft may be submitted
until 1 February 2008, at:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/ .

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