Accessibility Guidelines for XML
16:06, 31 Aug 2001 UTC | Simon St.Laurent

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative has published a first Working Draft of XML Accessibility Guidelines, outlining best practices for ensuring that information stored in XML is accessible.

The draft recognizes that XML has some fundamental differences from the other languages WAI has addressed:

"Compared to the HTML or MathML languages, XML is one level up: it is a meta syntax used to describe these languages, as well as new ones. As a meta syntax, XML provides no intrinsic guarantee of device independence or textual alternate support. It is essential, therefore, that XML formats and tools designers are provided with guidelines that explain how to include basic accessibility features - such as those present in HTML, SMIL, and SVG - in all their new developments."

After dividing XML work into data-oriented and metadata-oriented (RDF, XSLT, schemas), the document limits its work to data:

"According to this taxonomy, these guidelines only address Data-oriented schemata. This does not imply that there are not accessibility issues or features in a Metadata-Oriented schemata - see, for example, how XSLT, a component of XSL, can assist in Braille formatting. Since they do not convey end-user oriented data, however, Metadata-Oriented schemata are out of the scope of these guidelines."

This document may become a W3C Note. Comments are welcome until 30 September 2001 at wai-tech-comments@w3.org.

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