Chapter 5: Platforms and Applications

  1. 501 General
  2. 502 Interoperability with Assistive Technology
  3. 503 Applications
  4. 504 Authoring Tools

501 General

501.1 Scope.  The provisions of Chapter 5 shall apply where required by Chapter 1 or where referenced by a requirement in this document.

Advisory 501.1 Scope.  Examples of platforms are desktop, embedded operating systems (including mobile), web browsers, plug-ins to web browsers which render a particular media or format, and sets of components which allow other applications to execute.

Applications may be web-based or client-side software.  Examples of applications are email clients, word processors, help desk systems, content management systems, e-learning courseware, and terminal emulation.

Exception:  Web applications that conform to all Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and all Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1) shall not be required to conform to 502 and 503.

502 Interoperability with Assistive Technology

502.1 General.  Platforms, platform software toolkits, and applications shall conform to 502.

Exception:  Platforms and applications that have closed functionality and that conform to 402 shall not be required to conform to 502.

502.2 Accessibility Services.  Platforms and their software toolkits shall provide a documented set of accessibility services that support a mode of operation for applications running on the platform to interoperate with assistive technology and shall conform to 502.2.  Applications that are also platforms shall expose the underlying platform accessibility services or implement other documented accessibility services.

502.2.1 Object Information.  The object role, state(s), boundary, name, and description shall be programmatically determinable.

502.2.2 Row, Column, and Headers.  The row and column an object is in, and the headers for the row and column for that component, if it is in a data table that has row or column headers, shall be programmatically determinable.

502.2.3 Values.  The current value and any minimum or maximum values, if the component represents one of a range of values, shall be programmatically determinable.

502.2.4 Label Relationships.  The relationship that a component has as a label for another component, or of being labeled by another component, shall be programmatically determinable.

502.2.5 Parent Child Relationships.  The name of the object’s parent or containing element and any children components shall be programmatically determinable.

502.2.6 Text.  The text contents, text attributes, and the boundary of text rendered to the screen shall be programmatically determinable.

502.2.7 Actions.  A list of actions that can be executed on an object shall be programmatically determinable.  Applications shall allow assistive technology to programmatically execute available actions on objects.

502.2.8 Focus Cursor.  Applications shall expose information and mechanisms necessary to track and modify focus, text insertion point, and selection attributes of user interface components.

502.2.9 Event Notification.  Notification of events relevant to user interactions, including but not limited to changes in the component’s state(s), value, name, description, or boundary, shall be available to assistive technologies.

502.3 Documented Accessibility Usage.  Where platform documentation is available to application developers, platforms and applications shall conform to 502.3.

502.3.1 User Control of Accessibility Features.  Platforms shall provide a mode of operation for user control over platform features that are defined in the platform documentation as accessibility features.

502.3.2 No Disruption of Accessibility Features.  Applications shall not disrupt platform features that are defined in the platform documentation as accessibility features.

503 Applications

503.1 General.  Applications shall conform to 503.

Exception:  Applications that are designed to be isolated from their underlying platforms, including web applications, shall not be required to conform to 503.2.

Advisory 503.1 General Exception.  One example of an application that is designed to be isolated from its underlying platform is a media player which is restricted from having access to the desktop operating system.

503.2 User Preferences.  Applications shall provide a mode of operation that allows user preferences for platform settings for color, contrast, font type, font size, and focus cursor.

Advisory 503.2 User Preferences.  This provision also applies to applications that are platforms.  One example of an application that is also a platform is a web browser.

503.3 Alternative User Interfaces.  Where an application provides an alternative user interface that functions as assistive technology, the application shall use platform and other industry standard accessibility services to provide the alternate user interface.

503.4 User Controls for Captions and Video Description.  Where ICT displays video with synchronized audio content, ICT shall provide user controls for closed captions and video description conforming to 503.4.

503.4.1 Caption Controls.  Where user controls are provided for the selection of volume, ICT shall provide user controls for the selection of captions in at least one location that is comparable in prominence to the location of the user controls for volume.

503.4.2 Video Description Controls.  Where user controls are provided for the selection of channels, ICT shall provide user controls for the selection of video description in at least one location that is comparable in prominence to the location of the user controls for channels.

503.4.3 On-screen Menus.  Where an on-screen menu is provided for the selection of volume or channels, ICT shall provide for the selection of captions and video description at the same menu level as that of volume and channel selection.

504 Authoring Tools

504.1 General.  Where an application is an authoring tool, the application shall conform to 504 to the extent that information required for accessibility is supported by the destination format.

Advisory 504.1 General.  Authoring tools are applications that are used to create and edit documents or electronic content.

One example of an authoring tool is a web application that allows users to create new web pages.  Another example of an authoring tool is an application for editing video.

Authoring tools can also be used to create and publish content for use with telecommunications products or services.  One example of a telecommunications authoring tool is an interactive voice response system (IVR) that includes software for the creation of content used to populate menu choices.  These requirements for authoring tools enable this content to be accessible.

504.2 Content Creation or Editing.  Authoring tools shall provide a mode of operation to create or edit content that conforms to all Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and all Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1) for all features and formats supported by the authoring tool.  Authoring tools shall retain the option to override information required for accessibility.

Advisory 504.2 Content Creation or Editing.  Content includes information and sensory experience communicated to the user and encoding that defines the structure, presentation, and interactions associated with those elements.  Examples of content are text, images, sounds, videos, controls, and animations.

Content includes materials derived from programmatic sources.

Examples of content formats are word processing files, presentation files, spreadsheet files, text files, PDFs, and HTML files.

Authoring tools which remove information required for accessibility do not conform to this provision.  For example, if a video editing tool is used to edit a captioned movie, the tool must not remove the captioning.

Authoring tools which automatically provide information required for accessibility can make mistakes.  As with automated spelling and grammar checking, it is important for authors to retain control of the process with authoring tools.

Exception:  Authoring tools shall not be required to conform to 504.2 when used to directly edit plain text source code.

Advisory 504.2 Exception.  Examples of authoring tools that are only plain text editors include Emacs and Windows Notepad.

504.2.1 Preservation of Accessibility Information in Format Conversion.  When converting from one format to another or saving content in multiple formats, authoring tools shall preserve the information required for accessibility to the extent that the information is supported by the destination format.

Advisory 504.2.1 Preservation of Accessibility Information in Format Conversion.  One example of preservation of accessibility information in format conversion is exporting HTML from a word processor where alternative text associated with embedded images follows the native word processing format to the HTML source code.

When converting from one format to another, a best practice is for authors to have control over how information required for accessibility is handled in the destination format.  This best practice allows the author to ensure consistent use of the information required for accessibility in both formats.

504.3 Prompts.  Authoring tools shall provide a mode of operation that prompts authors to create content that conforms to all Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and all Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1).  Authoring tools shall provide prompts during initial content creation or shall activate prompts when the content is near completion.

Advisory 504.3 Prompts.  Prompts do not need to be provided for every element in the content.  Intrusive or overused prompts can decrease usability.  Examples of prompts that are activated when the content is near completion are a check or a “wizard”.

504.4 Templates.  At least one template for each template type provided within the authoring tool shall conform to all Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and all Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference in Chapter 1).

Advisory 504.4 Templates.  Not all authoring tools provide templates.  Where templates are provided, this provision requires that templates support accessibility.