The World Wide Web Consortium announced in January 2021 that it would collaborate with Grant for the Web, a program of the Interledger Foundation. Together we aim to ensure that the proposals, grantees, and community of the Grant for the Web program will shape the emerging Web Monetization ecosystem so that it supports scalable, global, and open standardization.
The World Wide Web Consortium
The World Wide Web Consortium (Web Consortium/W3C) was founded and is led by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, to help develop, promote, and encourage wide adoption of technological standards which are the building blocks of the Web. Our work is done in the open, freely available, and operates under our groundbreaking Patent Policy to assure that all W3C standards can be used without payment of royalties.
The mission of the Web Consortium is to lead the web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines that ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable. W3C standards undergird the infrastructure for modern businesses, leveraging the Web in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing, and financial services.
The Web Consortium brings together thousands of technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors who create the Web technologies that meet the needs of civil society for the benefit of humanity. Our vision is for one interoperable world-wide Web that is for all humanity, designed for the good and safety of its users.
Open and standard Web Monetization
The Web Consortium is working jointly on the grant submission process with Grant for the Web to ensure that grantees use the best approaches to Web design principles. We have started creating tools and educational material (including self-assessments) to raise the level of attention to standardization.We expect to announce and release them in this forum in the next few weeks.
We are set to help vet proposals being considered for funding to ensure that open standards requirements are understood, met and advanced. Our experts will also provide feedback and coordination about the developer experience.
W3C and Grant for the Web will work together to identify geographic areas of growth for and target programs/opportunities to these regions. Inclusion Grants will also underwrite new W3C memberships in lower income countries: we will make $25,000 available for a scholarship fund for small organizations from World Bank low-income countries, lower-middle income countries, and upper-middle income countries.
Particular focus for the Web Consortium
Important aspects of Web technology development are often overlooked in ways that can delay successful global scaling and lessen their societal impact. These include privacy, security, internationalization, accessibility, and interoperability.
W3C experts in the areas of privacy, security, internationalization, accessibility, device independence, and Web architectural consistency have started to consult with the Grant for the Web Program Team and are ready to work with its grantees to help mentor their success in project design with objectives that help build a globally diverse community.
So what are these areas and why are they so vital?
Privacy is key to human rights and civil liberties on the Web and in the world. The evolution of Web technologies has increased the collection, processing and publication of personal data.
Privacy concerns on the Web platform include location, health and social network information. When designing for Web Privacy, questions to consider include: what information is being collected, retained, and/or shared about people and how users’ data privacy is being protected (e.g. collecting minimum data, allowing anonymous or pseudonymous users, committing to purging logs within a certain timeframe, etc.).
Society is now reckoning with fears about social, political and technological misuse of the Web. If a person cannot trust that they are communicating with the party they intend and if they can’t use the Web to shop safely they won’t trust it as much. If an attacker can modify content in transit, the power of the Web platform can easily be turned against the user (or the site they are using).
When designing for Web Security, considerations include: confidentiality, authentication, integrity, secure communication, end-to-end encryption, and trust.
Access to web monetization technologies should not be limited by a user’s language or location. Internationalization helps you prepare your product so that it is easier to later translate and localise for users across what is a worldwide Web.
Designing or developing international content, applications, specifications, etc., means ensuring your product can support text in any language and writing system of the world. Other areas to consider include text direction, names and addresses, time zones, as well as cultural norms and expectations.
Digital accessibility is the design of products, services, and environments so that people with disabilities can use them (along with everyone else!), regardless of whether their disabilities are auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech or visual.
Design your monetization apps for accessibility by using established accessibility standards and guidelines, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to help ensure how your apps work for all users, including the one out of seven people in the world with disabilities. Educational and technical support resources for the latest version, WCAG 2.1, are available on the WAI website.
Device Independence is having a single Web that can be accessed from any device.
Nowadays, access to the Web is almost evenly split between mobile devices and traditional computers, so Web technologies and applications already need to ensure they adapt to devices with wide variability of capabilities and performance profiles. And the number of different kinds of devices used to access the Web will keep growing, e.g.: eBook readers, televisions, voice assistants, music players, kiosks, in-car navigation systems and domestic appliances.
Designing for Device Independence includes facilitating content delivery to as wide an audience as possible while respecting the constraints of the end user devices; taking advantage of specific features of end user devices; and respecting, where possible, the known preferences of the end user.
Web Architecture focuses on the foundation technologies and principles which sustain the Web. Foundational Web technologies include specifications that we all use often such as: URIs, HTML, XML, HTTP and many more. A core W3C principle of Web Architecture is that when designing, if a trade-off needs to be made, always put user needs above all.
Web Architecture principles include considerations such as understandability, interoperability, and scalability. When designing for these principles a user should be able to give meaningful consent to any feature and features should work across different input and output devices, screen sizes, interaction modes, platforms, and media.
What comes next?
The Web Consortium Team will share techniques and best practices to better design
- for Accessibility so that the Web continues to work for everyone;
- for Internationalization so that the World Wide Web you have a part in creating remains truly worldwide;
- the Security and Privacy implications of Web technologies to ensure that users are protected on the Web;
- with Device Independence in mind so that content is delivered to a diverse set of access mechanisms;
- following Web design principles so that user needs are put first.
We are honored to work with the Grant for the Web Team behind the scenes and look forward to more publicly introducing ourselves and sharing education information, tools and feedback with the Grant for the Web Community to help ensure that the Web we are creating together, works for everyone.
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