Wild World of W3C
Web Publications Working Group
The formal W3C working group continues to meet weekly. George and Charles are active participants ensuring accessibility is built in to any new standard this group publishes. The most pressing need in the publishing industry is a specification for audiobooks. Audiobooks are very popular today, but the production and distribution of this content from publishers is disorganized. The working group will focus on this area of publishing first to develop a specification that can be used next year.
W3C Personalization Task Force
The Personalization Task Force, co-facilitated by Charles LaPierre and Lisa Seeman, made huge steps forward with the publication of three public working drafts and an explanatory document for the specification on how to make the web personalized. The three modules are: Personalization Semantics Content, Personalization Help and Support, and Personalization Tools. Having these as W3C public working drafts is a big deal as this means they have evolved from something that was just a whitepaper into something now that is on track to become a W3C specification. This work will fundamentally change how we perceive the web by allowing us to customize how the information is presented to us to suit our specific needs. For example, say you are on a weather website and numbers are challenging. You could have the temperature be expressed with pictures instead.
Other Developments at the W3C
Knowledge Domains Targeted for Development
A “knowledge domain” is an area that relies on symbols for communicating information, such as math, chemistry, or music. All of the knowledge domains have been identified as having significant accessibility barriers. A task force has been formed to look at how these barriers can be addressed. It is clear that simply delivering images of math or music, for example, is not appropriate and significantly disadvantages persons with disabilities.
Correct Pronunciation Task Force Launched
For a long time, Text-To-Speech (TTS) has suffered from the mispronunciation of many words. Now that TTS is being used in high-stakes testing and assessments, more of a focus has been brought to this problem. A task force has been formed to identify how correct pronunciation can be added to HTML.
Braille Music Technical Developments
The DAISY Braille Music Working Group met in London on November 30, 2018. This meeting attracted more than 35 organizations in the DAISY community. The primary focus was on embossed braille music and the distribution of files for embossing. A third meeting is being planned for May, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland.
For more information on any of the Standards activities, contact George Kerscher: kerscher[at]montana[dot]com