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SAP Sponsors W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative

by Audrey Weinland | SAPinsider

April 1, 2002

by Audrey Weinland, SAP Labs SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), April (Issue 2)


In December 2001, SAP became an official sponsor of the Worldwide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). While many SAP customers are most familiar with W3C as a resource for specifications and guidelines on web technologies such as XML and HTML, its overarching mission is to lead the web to its full potential — which includes ensuring web accessibility for all users, regardless of their functional limitations. As part of our commitment to promoting usability for people with disabilities, SAP has joined the W3C’s Accessibility Initiative to help steer the future direction of accessibility policy with regard to the web and, more importantly, to web applications and e-business solutions globally. As accommodating users with disabilities gains importance among employers both in the public sector and the private sector, SAP is pursuing every avenue in our effort to provide our customers with products and solutions that meet these users’ needs.

The WAI has already had a very real influence on accessibility policy in the United States. The U.S. federal government adopted WAI standards1 as the basis for recently enacted regulations, referred to as Section 508, that require equal access to information technology for people with disabilities. This legislation affects all companies involved in the IT industry that supply products to the public sector including SAP.2 The U.S. federal agency tasked with developing Section 508, the Access Board, openly based many of the regulations on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the WAI.

Currently, WCAG standards and Section 508 regulations focus heavily on web sites. As a sponsor of the WAI, SAP will be in a position to influence the further development of these standards to give web applications and e-business solutions more consideration.

SAP will also have the opportunity to bring our knowledge and experience in the areas of tools, and assistive technology to WAI working groups. One such entity is the Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group, where we hope to highlight the needs of those who evaluate and repair web applications. In the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, we aim to heighten awareness of web application users’ needs when it comes to browsers and assistive technology — an area where the SAP Accessibility Program is already performing research and development specifically for the users of SAP products.

What’s more, SAP’s WAI sponsorship enables SAP to participate in the WAI Steering Council, joining major software manufacturers, such as Microsoft and IBM, in determining the future of web accessibility at a global level.

Producing accessible solutions for SAP users, including those with disabilities, is SAP’s goal. Joining WAI as a sponsor solidifies SAP’s commitment to becoming a leader in accessibility and influencing the direction of accessibility of IT products in the future.

Watch for more information from the SAP Accessibility Competence Center on SAP’s accessibility initiatives at For more on the WAI, visit

1 WAI’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 1.0.

2 The regulations known as Section 508 ( are part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, recently amended in June 2001. For more information, see “Physical Disabilities Should Not Be an Obstacle: Making SAP Systems Accessible to Everyone” in the July-September 2001 issue of SAP Insider, and in the Article Archives.

Audrey Weinland first joined SAP in 1989 and has worked for the SAP Accessibility Competence Center since early 2001. As a member of the ACC team, she is responsible for supporting SAP in its efforts to develop products and solutions that are accessible to all users.

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