The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the release of the “Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0” (ATAG 1.0) specification, providing guidance to developers on how to design accessible authoring tools that produce accessible Web content. As a W3C Recommendation, the specification is stable, contributes to the universality of the Web, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership. W3C encourages developers to promote Web accessibility by implementing this Recommendation. The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 explain how developers of authoring tools, such as HTML editors and site management tools, can encourage and assist in the production of accessible Web content through prompts, alerts, checking, repair functions, and help files in their tools. In addition to their value to accessibility, many of the principles addressed in the specification, such as the importance of producing and preserving valid markup, promote interoperability of the Web in general. The Guidelines address not only the accessibility of content produced by tools, but also the accessibility of the tool itself. The Web is not a read-only medium, and accessible authoring tools will enable all people to publish to the Web, regardless of disability. The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 address a broad range of tools, including WYSIWYG editors, “save-as-HTML” conversion tools, tools that dynamically generate content from databases, formatting tools, image editors, and site management tools. ATAG 1.0 consists of twenty-eight requirements, called “checkpoints,” for developing accessible authoring tools that produce accessible content. The checkpoints are organized according to seven overriding design principles, called “guidelines.” As with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, ATAG 1.0 checkpoints have three priority levels, which correspond to their importance for accessibility. There is a checklist providing a quick overview of the checkpoints by priority. W3C has made icons available for products claiming any one of the three conformance levels. The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is preparing a variety of implementation support materials to assist developers, including the “Techniques for Authoring Tool Accessibility,” published today as a W3C Note. At the time of this release, every requirement of the Guidelines has been implemented by one or more existing tools, though no tool yet satisfies all checkpoints. www.w3.org/WAI

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