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22 December 2022

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has seen another busy year with loads of international standards and guidance created. Let’s have a quick recap of the highlights including CFA Australia’s own contribution.

The most eagerly anticipated development is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2. While the new standard was not released this year, it has reached Candidate Recommendation stage which means it is a largely complete draft. With a focus on additional visual and cognitive guidance it is likely to be a great support to people with disability when it is released. Hopefully we will see this finalised in early 2023.

Another important development was work on the Accessibility of Remote Meetings which included CFA Australia’s own Dr Scott Hollier as the leading editor. The impact of COVID-19 has substantially increased the use of remote meeting platforms. With the rapid shift to remote meeting platforms, there has been little formalized guidance on how to ensure that remote meetings are accessible. This Note provides guidance to procurement processes, developers and users of remote meeting software to ensure that the content used in meetings and the way they are run can be maximised for accessibility.

This year has also seen great opportunities for people creating and seeking training in web accessibility with improvements to W3C WI curricula resources and the launch of an international resource that lists web accessibility courses. This includes the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility course delivered by our own Dr Scott Hollier. It’s great to find a list of training opportunities in this space all listed in one place.

This year also saw the release of the Synchronized Media Accessibility User Requirements (SAUR).  This looks at ensuring media works effectively with accessibility features such as ALT text, captions, and sign language interpretation. Developers using this will be supporting an easier experience for people who rely on multiple accessibility tools. IT’s a great resource for anyone looking to ensure that a video and its associated accessibility features are optimised to appear at the same time.

One major highlight for CFA Australia is that after working with W3C WAI across many projects, we were formally provided an opportunity to become a W3C member organisation this year. IT’s great to expand our contribution to international accessibility guidance as part of our increased involvement in such an important organisation.

To end the update on a slightly sad note, it’s important to acknowledge that after 25 years of service, Judy Brewer, Director of the W3C WAI, is leaving to pursue a new role with the Partnership for Public Service. This position will see Brewer work alongside senior US Government officials, addressing the accessibility needs of the disability community, particularly with how technology is utilised across public service.  CFA Australia has worked with Judy across many accessibility projects including on the Remote Meetings work and we wish her all the best in the new role.