A wai is an Asian custom used in greeting others in some countries. When visiting Thailand, in business situations they normally shake hands. A proper traditional greeting is performing a wai.

You put your two hands together as if in prayer. You place the tips of your index and middle fingers (with the area between the index finger its second knuckle) to your face. Depending on who you are greeting, the position on your face shows your rank and age to the other person. An everyday wai is to place your fingertips at your mouth level. Greeting someone below your station usually would mean putting your fingertips to your chin, but I recmmend substituting the lip-level wai. Greeting an elder, someone well above your station, a monk or royalty requires putting your fingertips at forehead-level.

When your hands are properly placed, you bow from the waist. Proper etiquette requires the youngest to wai the oldest, or the lower ranked person to wai the highest first. The oldest and highest ranking person would then return the wai.

If you are travelling in Thailand, be prepared to use the wai to everyone you introduce yourself to, and do it first. Even in business, you can perform a wai and then follow it up with a handshake.

The WAI is a W3C specification providing guidance on accessibility of Web sites for people with disabilities. It is basically a list of what you should do for your site to make it more accessible to all people.

The long list is broken up into three priority checkpoint levels: Priority 1 which is what every webmaster must do to make websites accessible to all, Priority 2 which is what every webmaster should do in order to aid accessibility issues, and Priority 3 which is what every webmaster may do in order to aid accessibility issues for some. Conformance for the WAI is broken up into three conformance levels: Conformance Level A satisfies all Priority 1 checkpoints, Conformance Level Double-A satisfies all Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints, and Conformance Level Triple-A satisfies all Priority 1, 2, and 3 checkpoints.

I find it's only necessary to have the Conformance Level of Double-A. Conformance Level A is too narrow, and Conformance Level A is much too strict. There is no real valid validator for the WAI, so you'll have to make sure that you are compliant by yourself. A simple checklist for the WAI is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/full-checklist.html

More on the WAI:

  • http://www.w3.org/WAI/
  • http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/full-checklist.html
  • http://www.w3.org/WAI/References/QuickTips/
  • http://www.w3.org/1999/05/WCAG-REC-fact

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