Assistive technologies help make applications and content accessible to people with disabilities. To accomplish this goal, accessibility standardization activities have been actively performed in various areas, and many institutions and organizations are introducing new criteria for assessing accessibility.
For example, to make Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) accessible, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is developing an Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) suite to help developers make Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) accessible through assistive technologies within Web browsers. To make office documents accessible, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) has recently completed accessibility enhancements in version 1.1 of the Open Document Format (ODF). IAccessible2, the new accessibility API contributed by IBM, is currently being standardized by the Free Standards Group Accessibility workgroup to make screen readers fully capable of rendering content based upon accessibility standards for documents and applications.
One of the new problems in adopting these standards is the lack of tool support. In order to create documents and applications that are compliant with existing and emerging standards or sets of guidelines, tools for accessibility check and evaluation are needed to reduce the burdens on document authors and application/content developers. For the traditional HTML-based Web content, various accessibility checking tools have been developed resulting in a rich accessibility tools market.
Currently, sufficient tools do not exist for new standards and for non-Web rich-client applications and content. This problem may cause delays in the global adoption and use of these new standards.