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The advent of the web brought infinite possibilities. It changed the way we learn, work and socialize because we were no longer limited by real or imagined borders. However there was a problem: Lack of standard guidelines and proper structure. Due to the divergence of individual initiatives the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) was created.
WAI is one of the initiatives created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as an effort to improve accessibility on the web.
According to Tim Bernes-Lee, Director of the W3C and inventor of the World Wide Web:
Worldwide, there are more than 750 million people with disabilities. As we move towards a highly connected world, it is critical that the web be usable by anyone, regardless of individual capabilities and disabilities.
WAI pursues accessibility through the following ways:
- Ensuring that web technologies support accessibility.
- Developing guidelines for web content, applications, browsers, and authoring tools.
- Developing tools to evaluate and facilitate accessibility.
- Supporting education and outreach on web accessibility.
- Co-ordinating with research and development that may impact the future of accessibility on the web.
- Promoting harmonized international uptake of web accessibility standards.
WAI consists of several working groups and special interest groups. Each group works on a specific subject, but they are all in the pursuit of a common goal: improving accessibility on the web. The following are the working and special interest groups :
- Accessibility Guideline Working Group (formerly the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group).
- Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group.
- Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) Working Group.
- Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG).
- WAI Interest Group (WAI IG).
WAI was created by the W3C as an effort to improve accessibility on the web. They develop accessibility standards and offer implementation guidance. WAI is made up of several working groups and special interest groups working together for a common goal: improving accessibility for disabled people.