W3C Involvement

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Pearson is a member organization of the W3C with a company representative on the W3C Advisory Committee. Pearson also has staff that serve in a variety of capacities on W3C Working Groups, Community Groups, and Interest Groups.

One of the W3C guiding principles is a “Web for All.” The social value of the Web is that it enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to share knowledge. One of W3C's primary goals is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability. To support this guiding principle the W3C created the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). WAI is made up of multiple Working Groups that develop standards and support materials to help people learn about, understand and implement accessibility.

The Accessibility Team for Assessments understands the importance of having a voice at the table in organizations that develop international standards and guidance for the development of accessible websites and applications. We have embedded staff within various W3C WAI working groups and task forces. Our team is contributing to this global community by supporting the development of sound standards, guidance, and techniques. Our involvement in W3C standards bodies gives us unique exposure to emerging innovations and developments in the fields of accessibility and assistive technology. The knowledge and skills we gain through this work informs the advice and guidance we are able to provide to Pearson development teams. It allows us to support Pearson personnel with the most relevant and up-to-date information about accessibility requirements.

The Accessibility Team for Assessments currently has several members that serve in the following groups:

  • Accessibility Education & Outreach Working Group (EOWG) - Develops awareness and training materials and education resources on Web accessibility solutions. Brent Bakken currently serves as the working group co-chair, planning and managing deliverables, communications, task force groups, weekly meetings, and delivery of presentations.
  • Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AGWG) - Develops guidelines to make Web content accessible for people with disabilities and to develop and maintain implementation support materials for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
    • Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Task Force - Developing a framework and repository of test rules, to promote a unified interpretation of WCAG 2.0 among different web accessibility test tools.
    • Silver Task Force - Performing preliminary development on a new version of Accessibility Guidelines, following a research-focused, user-centered design methodology to produce the most effective and flexible outcome.
  • Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group - Reviews specifications, develops technical support materials, collaborates with other Working Groups on technology accessibility, and coordinates harmonized accessibility strategies within W3C.
    • Pronunciation TaskForce - Develops normative specifications and best practice guidance. Collaborates with other W3C groups as appropriate to provide proper pronunciation in HTML content when using text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis.
    • Research Questions Task Force (RQTF) - Works to identify accessibility knowledge gaps and barriers in emerging and future web technologies, and to identify research findings, researchers, and research opportunities to inform and fill those gaps where possible.
  • Publishing Working Group (PWG) - Mission is to enable all publications—with all their specificities and traditions—to become first-class entities on the Web. This group works to provide the necessary technologies on the Open Web Platform to make the combination of traditional publishing and the Web complete in terms of accessibility, usability, portability, distribution, archiving, offline access, and reliable cross referencing.