Overview of process/workflow in ACT Rules Community Group:

(see workflow on the board here:

Note: The steps in the process, as outlined above, are agreed upon by the ACT Rules Community Group on teleconference calls. This document however, is still work in progress.

Ideas looking for initial approvals

Initial review of the general concept and validity of the rule.

The purpose of this stage is to avoid that people spend a huge amount of time on writing rules and reviewing details in them to then see the whole concept of the rule rejected when looking for a final review.

Enters this stage when:

  • A new rule is first proposed.

Passes this stage and moves on to "To Do" when:

  • Currently no explicit criteria for passing this stage, but 3 initial approvals from different organizations are recommended. This should give an indication on whether the rule can get 3 final approving reviews and get through Call for Review later.

Fails this stage and becomes "Rejected" when:

  • There is general disagreement that the rule is a valid test for the accessibility requirement it supposedly maps to.

Instructions for this stage

Rule author's job for this stage:

  • Creating the pull request (PR) for the rule already at this stage is recommended, but for content of the rule it should be enough to have e.g. a title, a description and success criteria listed, for reviewers to be able to evaluate the idea for the rule. Creating the rule as a pull request already here allows for keeping the discussion of the rule in one place. However, if a rule writer prefers using issues at this stage, this is also allowed.

Reviewer's job for this stage:

  • Focus on whether the rule is a valid test for the accessibility requirements (WCAG success criteria) that it lists.
  • Focus on whether you can agree to the general concept of the rule, or if the idea needs to be tweaked or rejected all together.
  • Be honest about your concerns, since rejecting a rule at this point will save a lot of resources compared to rejecting it at the Call for Review later.

To do

Rules waiting to be picked up and worked on.

Enters this stage when:

  • Rule ideas: Rules that have passed the "Ideas looking for initial approvals" stage, or
  • Published rules: Bugs that have been reported in for published rules.

Passes this stage and moves on to "In Progress" when:

  • When someone has picked up the rule and started working on it.

Fails this stage and moves back a stage to "Ideas looking for initial approvals" when:

  • The author decides that more discussion of the initial idea is needed.

Instructions for this stage

Rule author's job for this stage:

  • Decide whether this is a rule the author would like to pick up.

Reviewer's job for this stage:

  • None

In Progress / Changes Requested

Rule writing

Enters this stage when:

  • Work on a "To do" item is being picked up by someone.

Passes this stage when:

  • There are no open comments from reviewers.

Fails this stage and moves back a stage to "To Do" when:

  • Work on the rule is put on hold for a significant amount of time. The "On hold" label can be used to signal this to potential reviewers.

Instructions for this stage

Rule author's job for this stage:

  • Write and refine rule.
  • Resolve all comments from reviewers.

Reviewer's job for this stage:

  • None, unless specifically asked by the author to give feedback on something particular.

Needs Reviews

Rules that have been fixed up by the author and are ready for review again, aiming to get 3 approvals.

Enters this stage when:

  • All open comments have been resolved, and all "Changes requested" reviews dismissed.

Passes this stage when:

  • 3 approvals from different organizations have been given.

Fails this stage and moves back a stage to "In Progress / Changes requested" when:

  • "Changes requested" reviews comes in, which moves it back to "In progress / Changes Requested"

Instructions for this stage

Rule author's job for this stage:

  • Assign reviewers to the rule in GitHub.
  • IMPORTANT: Dismiss any outdated reviews and re-assign the person as a reviewer (this helps reviewers see, that the rule is ready for review again).
  • If reviews are missing, take it up on CG mailing list or teleconference calls.

Reviewer's job for this stage:

  • Review the rule thoroughly.
  • Use the Definition of Done as a checklist for the review.
  • If you consider the rule to be:

    • ... ready for publication --> Use "Approve" status
    • ... in need of changes, big or small (even if you didn't do a full review) --> Use "Request changes" status (and make comments)
    • ... anything else --> Use "Comment" status

Call for Review

Final gate-keeping mechanism where the whole community gets to object to a rule, if they don't agree to it, and implementers get a shot at trying it out in practice and giving feedback based on real-life experience with the rule.

We encourage initial implementations BEFORE publishing the rule, so that all the feedback from the implementation can get included in the original pull request, instead of being raised as new issues for already published rules - making even published rules quite unstable.

This stage was formerly called Final Call or Call for Consensus (CFC)

Enters this stage when:

  • Rule has 3 approvals from other organizations.
  • Rule author considers the rule to be in its final form.
  • Rule is either a new rule or an already published rule where substantial changes have been made.

Changes that do require a "Call for Review"

Substantial changes, that require a "Call for Review", are in general changes that can affect the outcome of a rule. This includes, but might not be limited to changes that changes, extends or limits the scope of what is considered for these sections:

  • Accessibility Requirements (success criteria)
  • Applicability
  • Expectations
  • Test cases (Passed/Failed/Inapplicable)

Changes that do not require a "Call for Review"

These changes are considered non-substantial and will not require a "Call for Review" before being published:

  • Editorial changes, that do not change the meaning of a rule (also if it's in the Applicability, Expectations or Examples)
  • Changes to the Assumptions, Background, Accessibility Support. If changes to these sections seem to impact the possible outcomes of a rule, probably these sections have been misused.

Passes this stage when:

  • No changes or only changes that do not require a "Call for Review" are made to the rule after "Call for Review" is launched.

Fails this stage and moves back two stages to "In Progress" when:

  • Changes that do require a "Call for Review" are made to the rule after "Call for Review" is launched.

If this happens, a new "Call for Review" should be launched after the first one. It is recommended to let the first "Call for Review" expire first, before launching a new one, to get a broad range of reviewers on board already in the first round to hopefully avoid multiple rounds of Calls for Review for the same pull request.

Instructions for this stage

Rule author's job for this stage:

  • Send email out to all of ACT Rules Community Group that rule is in "Call for Review" for the next 2 weeks.
  • Follow up on feedback during the "Call for Review", and handle requested changes, evaluating whether they are of a type that MUST spawn a new "Call for Review":

    • For changes that do not require a "Call for Review" (see above): Implement changes as soon as possible, and dismiss outdated reviews (to let all reviewers know that the pull request is review ready), and request a new review from that person.
    • For changes that do require a new "Call for Review": Evaluate whether "Call for Review" should be allowed to run out before changes are made, or if changes should be made right away, but with a note that a new "Call for Review" will be required.

Reviewer's job for this stage:

  • Thorough reviews, take time to dive into the rule.
  • When commenting, please note whether you consider the suggested changes to be substantial or not (whether the change falls into the category of changes that do require a "Call for Review", or the ones that do not require a "Call for Review").
  • For tool vendors and testing methodology owners: Implement rule in tools and methodologies

    • At this stage, the rule should be quite stable, minimizing the risk of doing a too-early implementation, that has to be re-done from scratch later due to changes in the rule.
    • Implementations are important at this stage, since we often find things that needs to be changed in rules as soon as we start implementing them, e.g. issues with test cases, ambiguities in applicability or expectations, missing definitions etc.
  • Be aware that this is last chance to object to the rule, on everything from spelling and grammar to accessibility requirements mapping and use of definitions.
  • Keep up to date on Calls for Review using this list:


Published rules

Enters this stage when:

  • A rule has received 3 approvals from 3 different organizations and successfully survived its 2 week Call for Review (if applicable), and has been merged and is now shown on rules overview on the website: (might take a few minutes to update after merge).


Rules that have been rejected due to different reasons.

Enters this stage when:

  • Initial rules don't get the backing they need to move on through the process.
  • When a rule at any stage is dropped because it lacks backing in the Community Group, e.g. because it is not considered feasible, or is subject to disagreement on whether the rule is actually testing for something that can improve accessibility.