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Accessibility Tools Working Group

This is the Wiki for the Open AJAX Alliance Accessibility Tools Task Force. The growing adoption of Rich Internet Applications (RIA) has resulted in the development of new accessibility standards and specifications such as the W3C WAI Accessible Rich Internet Application Specification (WAI-ARIA) and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG2). Although accessibility tool providers and venders are moving to support WCAG 2, compliance is not fully addressed or understood in a RIA environment. For example, in WCAG2, Guideline 4.1 Compatible: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies, there is a subtle dependence upon the WAI-ARIA specification in success criterion 4.1.2. This requirement dicttates that, for all user interface components, the name and role of these components can be programatically determined and that the states, properties, and values of such components can be programatically determined and possibly set. There is also an implicit assumption about the compatibility between user agents and assistive technologies. Such disconnects or gaps in understanding have resulted in deficiencies in our accessibility testing and evaluation tools.

Developing accessible RIAs is also much more challenging than authoring or generating static web content. WAI-ARIA introduces additional semantic meta data and added keyboard support to facilitate usability, all being applied in a dynamically changing environment. Thus, The accessibility of RIAs changes as the user operates the web page. This added complexity creates the need to add tools to assist the developer in their native IDEs during the development, unit-testing, and functional testing of dynamic web applications.

Static Analysis would require pre-processing and analysis of the JavaScript code to understand the intent. This is not effective or practical. Consequently, the testing strategy for accessibility testing should mirror unit testing where the end user operates a web page based on the design criteria for the product, ideally exercising all aspects of the page. This is when accessibility tools need to be validating the content and they need to do so in response to user interaction and Ajax live area updates. To accomplish this more dynamic valaidation and evaluation, accessibility tools must have an integrated browser component that is event driven and drives compliance testing. The presentation of the test results may vary (depending, for example, upon whether one is using an IDE which provides developer assistance in the enablement effort or a validation test tool), however the sets of validation rules should be reusable regardless of the context in which they are being applied.

It will be the mission of the task force to address these and related issues.


  • Develop a standard set of accessibility validation rules, geared toward meeting compliance to WCAG 2 using WAI-ARIA and WAI-ARIA Best Practices. These rules must be consumable by major accessibility test tools.
  • Develop best practices for reporting accessibility compliance by accessibility test tools
  • Develop IDE best practices to assist developers to produce Accessible RIAs

Current Documents

Tools using OAA Rulesets

Related Resources


Participating Companies and Organizations

  • IBM
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Illinois

Committee Email list

The email list is Archives can be found at: To subscribe to this list, fill out the form at:

Teleconference information

Fridays, weekly, 2:00pm to 3:00pm CST. Please use the World Clock Meeting Planner to check the time and date for your time zone.

IRC information:

  • server:
  • channel: #oaa-accessibility

Minutes from previous calls

Instructions to post minutes here

  1. Click link to bring up the most recent minutes posted.
  2. Change the URL in the address line to indicate the new date and click Go.
  3. Edit the newly created page.
  4. Add Participants (see previous minutes for attendees' company/organization association) and the minutes for the just completed call.
  5. Save the page.
  6. Go back to the group's home page (this page) and enter edit mode.
  7. Copy and paste the previous minutes' link and modify to accommodate the new date. Add after the link: (Scribe: <your name>)
  8. Save the home page.



Formal Working Group Formation

The Accessibility committee is in the process of becoming a formal Working Group. The proposed charter is at:

The minutes from the Creation Review phone call required by the OpenAjax Development Process are at:

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