The ‘other’ Accessibility Guidelines – the Importance of Authoring Tool Accessibility Evaluation in a Web 2.0 World [A5]


Web content is increasingly produced by authors without extensive web design skills – whether by staff using CMSs, VLEs and courseware or by students publishing their coursework online. The challenge of making sure this content is as accessible as possible becomes much more significant, and inevitably a burden on the individual or institution.

The quality of the authoring tool in supporting accessible content creation becomes critical – however support for the W3C’s Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) by authoring tool vendors seems to be seen as a specific (and usually low priority) customer request rather than a fundamental quality of the tool.

For institutions considering selecting a VLE, CMS or other tool that supports web content publication, how can they best express accessibility requirements so that the tool takes its share of responsibility for accessible output? And if existing tools fall short of ATAG conformance, how can the effect of this on the accessibility of content best be managed?

Learning Objectives:

Through discussions and case studies, attendees will become familiar with W3C ATAG and its importance in the field of web accessibility, examples of how current authoring tools fail to meet ATAG, how existing tools can best be assessed for ATAG conformance, and how shortcomings can be managed. We will explore how we can most effectively express requirements for tools to support authors of all technical abilities in creating accessible content.