IEC and ISO approve W3C web content accessibility guidelines 2.0 as international standard

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The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), the world’s leading standards body in electrotechnology, and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), through the Joint Technical Committee JTC 1: Information Technology, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have announced approval of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).

We also expect that IEC and ISO recognition will encourage greater convergence around WCAG 2.0, further driving development of supporting tools and software.

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), the world’s leading standards body in electrotechnology, and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), through the Joint Technical Committee JTC 1: Information Technology, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have announced approval of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).

"This important accessibility standard, which is already widely deployed internationally, can now benefit from additional formal recognition from IEC and ISO national bodies," noted Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. "Such recognition is expected to increase internationally harmonized uptake of WCAG 2.0 by governments, business, and the broader Web community."

"ISO/IEC JTC 1 is very pleased to bring on board this most important of W3C accessibility standards, given the increased interest in accessibility among JTC 1 National Bodies in recent years," said Karen Higginbottom, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1. "We also expect that IEC and ISO recognition will encourage greater convergence around WCAG 2.0, further driving development of supporting tools and software."

WCAG 2.0 has been adopted or referenced by many governments and organizations. Following the passage of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an increasing number of countries have been seeking solutions to address their treaty commitments for information technology accessibility for people with disabilities.

"The ISO/IEC imprimatur increases the avenues for adoption of W3C technology and guidelines," noted Judy Brewer, Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at W3C. "In some countries, policies require that nationally adopted technical standards must be ISO/IEC. Formal approval by JTC 1 of WCAG 2.0 will increase deployment, reduce fragmentation, and provide all users with greater interoperability on the web."

WCAG 2.0 was first submitted to the ISO/IEC JTC 1 process for Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) in October 2011. W3C has been an approved JTC 1 PAS Submitter since November 2010, and is one of nine organizations that are currently approved. To learn more about W3C and the ISO/IEC JTC1 PAS Submission process, see the W3C PAS FAQ and the JTC 1 website.

As an ISO/IEC JTC 1 Standard, WCAG 2.0 is now also available from IEC and ISO, while it remains a stable international W3C standard with extensive supporting resources. JTC 1 recognition neither changes nor supercedes the existing standard, which remains freely available from the W3C website along with multiple W3C authorized translations of WCAG 2.0.

About the World Wide Web Consortium
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 375 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has additional offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/

About the Web Accessibility Initiative
W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) works with organizations around the world to make the Web more accessible for people with disabilities and older users. WAI pursues accessibility of the Web by ensuring that Web technologies support accessibility; developing guidelines for Web content, browsers and media players, and authoring tools; developing resources to support improved evaluation tools; developing resources for education and outreach; and coordinating with research and development efforts that can affect future accessibility of the Web. WAI is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the European Commission's Information Society Technologies Programme, HP and IBM. For more information see http://www.w3.org/WAI/

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Gabriela Ehrlich
IEC
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