You are in the: Small Business Computing Channelarrow View Sites +
Small Business Technology
» ECommerce-Guide | Small Business Computing | Webopedia | WinPlanet |  »Close
Enter a word for a definition... ...or choose a computer category.

   Term of the Day
   New Terms
   New Links
   Quick Reference
   Did You Know?
   Tech Support
   Webopedia Jobs
   About Us
   Link to Us

talk to us
   Submit a URL
   Suggest a Term
   Report an Error
Internet Lists
Internet News
Internet Resources
Linux/Open Source
Personal Technology
Small Business
Windows Technology
xSP Resources
Corporate Info
Tech Jobs
E-mail Offers
  Be a Commerce Partner

Last modified: Friday, January 25, 2002 

Pronounced way. Short for the Web Accessibility Initiative, an initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium launched in 1997 to ensure that as the Internet grows in usage Web sites are designed to accommodate people with disabilities.

Web design can present barriers to people with disabilities, especially people with sensory or neurological disabilities. The WAI was implemented to ensure that Web site design addresses the needs of people with these disabilities. The following are examples of the accommodations that Web designers need to consider in order to be compliant with the WAI's guidelines.

  • visual disabilities -- people with visual disabilities can have trouble reading text and visual clues on a Web site. Blind users cannot rely on visual stimulation on a Web site.
  • hearing disabilities -- people with hearing disabilities are at a disadvantage on Web sites that do not offer captions for audio or that rely on sounds to navigate the site.
  • physical disabilities -- people with physical disabilities can have trouble navigating sites that do not offer keyboard or single-switch support for menu commands (i.e., sites that rely on navigation via mouse). People with physical disabilities can also be at a disadvantage in virtual reality, gesture recognition or haptic environments that rely on physical movement for interfacing.
  • neurological disabilities -- people with neurological disabilities can be at a disadvantage on sites that are complex to understand, do not have a consistent navigation structure, have a complex presentation of language or have flashing/strobing images and designs.

The WAI has five levels of concern in Web design:

  • technology -- ensuring that current and developing Web technologies support accessibility.
  • guidelines -- developing guidelines for accessibility that web designers can follow.
  • tools -- developing tools that can evaluate the level of accessibility of a site.
  • education -- conducting education and outreach so that web designers and others will understand the need for continued and expanded accessibility. As the Web expands, the growth must address accessibility.
  • research and development -- coordinating with researchers and developers to ensure that accessibility is built into the technology instead of developing accessibility once a technology has been implemented.

E-mail this definition to a colleague

Sponsored listings

Order Direct from Polaroid - Businesses get preferred prices on Volume Orders direct from Polaroid.

Overland Storage: Digital Storage Devices - Affordable, flexible digital storage solutions, from protected storage appliances to tiered storage systems, external tape drives to virtual tape.

PSSC Labs: Digital Storage Devices - Lower power. Lower A/C Requirements. Lower Noise. PSSC Labs custom configured servers and clusters are integrated for your specific needs and budget.

For pages about WAI . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Designing for Access to the Web for Blind and Visually Impaired Users 
Blind and visually impaired users have very limited access to the Web. This paper discusses the nature of these barriers and presents some ways to overcome them.

WAI Home Page  
News, information and important links for the W3C's WAI.

Designing More Usable Web Sites
Information and resources on designing Web sites that are universally accessible.

The Web Accessibility Initiative
This article from 1999 explains the purpose of the WAI and examines some of its key elements and their effects on Web design.

Sponsored listings

NetReflector, Inc.: Employee Surveys - Collect feedback using our online employee surveys. Evaluate and assess employee satisfaction quickly and cost-effectively through online surveys.

SMC Corporation: Valves - Offers a complete range of pneumatic and electrical components, including actuators, valves, instrumentation, and vacuum and air preparation parts.

Murals Your Way: Home Murals - Offering an assortment of interior murals including custom images tailored to match home, commercial, or retail design plans.

At Battery Company: Two-Way Radio Batteries - Find batteries and chargers for all of your electronics here. Save 10% on all orders with GE2 promo code.

Hoover's: Rent-Way, Inc. Company Research - Find information on RENT-WAY, INC. with operations and products, financials, officers, competitors and more at Hoover's.

related categories

Computer Law


Web Development

World Wide Web

related terms




Web site

Give Us Your

WAI Products
Compare Products,Prices and Stores

Shop by Category:
63 Model Matches

Expansion Modules
26 Model Matches

Sport and Outdoor
54 Store Offers

100 Model Matches

JupiterWeb networks:

Search JupiterWeb:

Jupitermedia Corporation has two divisions:
Jupiterimages andJupiterWeb

Legal Notices, Licensing, Reprints, & Permissions, Privacy Policy.

Jupitermedia Corporate Info | Newsletters | Tech Jobs | Shopping | E-mail Offers