This post is written based on the W3C Working Draft dated 21 May 2021.
Content of this post
WCAG is an internationally recognized standard developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
WCAG guidelines explain how to make web content accessible and easy to use on various devices like desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices to all users including people with disabilities.
The WCAG guideline are organized around the below four principles.
There are 13 guidelines that fall under the above four principles and each guideline defines a set of “Success Criteria (SC)” each of which holds a level of conformance either Level (A, AA, AAA).
Level of Conformance
- Level A – The lowest level
- Level AA – Recommended level
- Level AAA – The highest level
The failure of any above success criteria’s, guidelines means the users with disabilities may find it difficult or impossible to use the web.
The initial version WCAG 1.0 was published on 5-May-1999, 9 years later WCAG 2.0 was published and was the recommended web standards for about 10 years.
Stable Referenceable Standards
- WCAG 2.0 was published on 11 December 2008 – (12 Guidelines, 61 Success Criterions)
- WCAG 2.1 was published on 5 June 2018 – ( 13 Guidelines, 17 additional SC to WCAG 2.0)
- WCAG 2.2 is scheduled to be published in 2021 – ( 13 guidelines, 9 additional SC to WCAG 2.1)
- Accessibility Guidelines 3.0 (Silver) is expected to be published in 2023 – (Not backward compatible with WCAG 2.0)
The versions WCAG 2.2, 2.1 are backward compatible with WCAG 2.0, which means the web content that conforms to WCAG 2.2 also conforms to 2.1 and 2.0.
What’s New in WCAG 2.2
Promotion of SC 2.4.7 from Level AA to A
The SC 2.4.7 – Focus Visible has been promoted from Level AA to Level A and two SC related to Focus Appearance has been included.
- 2.4.11 Focus Appearance (Minimum) (AA)
- 2.4.12 Focus Appearance (Enhanced) (AAA)
There are 9 new SC introduced (4 Level A, 4 Level AA, 1 Level AAA) in WCAG 2.2.
SC 2.4.13 – Page Break Navigation.
When web content has series of pages, people can easily find references and navigate to content based on consistent page numbers across all formats (digital version, adapted version or, printed version).
- Adapted version – Web content may be adapted based on users preferences like resizing text, changing the text spacing properties, using a different layout, etc.
- Users who are blind using screen readers
- Users with low vision who have their content adapted to particular settings.
- Users with dyslexia or other cognitive disabilities
SC 3.2.6 – Consistent Help
Help or support options available are consistently labelled and positioned in the same location across the site or app allowing users to quickly get help to complete the tasks.
At least one of the following help mechanisms is availabe:
- Contact details – a phone number, email address, hours of operation.
- Contact mechanism – a messaging system, chat client, contact form, social media channel.
- Self-help option – Frequently Asked Questions, Support page.
- Automated contact mechanism – a chatbot.
Note: Providing multiple support mechanisms may be beneficial giving users a choice to access the perferred support option to get help and complete tasks.
People who require further help to complete the tasks.
SC 3.3.7 – Accessible Authentication
Provide users with at least one authentication method that does not require them to remember, transcribe information, or solve a puzzle.
- Memorising – Remembering username and passwords to login.
- Transcribing text – Typing in the one-time passwords sent to mobile and emails.
- Solving Puzzles – Captcha
Users with cognitive limitations as authentication methods may be a barrier to complete tasks.
SC 3.3.8 – Redundant Entry
For any repetitive form fields in the process of completing a task, the information user entered previously is either auto-filled or provide as an option to select.
- People with memory disabilities by reducing the need to recall information.
- People with cognitive disabilities who may experience mental fatigue causing them to give up or enter incorrect information.
Note: It is not add a requirement to remember information between sessions
SC 3.2.7 – Visible Controls
SC 2.4.11 – Focus Appearance (Minimum)
Focus indicators are clearly visible with contrast ratio of at least 3:1, meeting the minimum contrasting area, and have discernible focussed and unfocussed states.
This success criteria defines
- Minimum level of visibility (minimum contrast ratio meets 3:1 and focus indicator is atleast 2px thick )
- Minimum contrasting area (is greater than equal to longest side of the UI x 2 CSS pixels)
- Keyboard users.
- Users with low vision
- Users with cognitive limitations who rely on screen readers to easily locate the focus.
SC 2.5.7 – Dragging
Any feature that uses dragging motion (path-based gestures) such as drag and drop, or moving a slider also has an alternative option to perform the same function using a single pointer gestures like single tap, double tap, press and hold or mouse press.
- Users with dexterity limitations using alternative input devices such as pointing devices, eye gazing software, speech controlled mouse emulator to perform the same function using single pointer interaction.
SC 2.5.8 – Target Size (Minimum)
Touch targets are at least 24 CSS pixels in size, or target size + spacing should be at least 24 CSS pixels.
When targets are in sentence or block of text.
- People with mobility impairments such as hand tremors using mouse, stylus, or touch input.
- Mouse users with limited fine motor movements.
- People using a mobile device in shaking environments such as public transports
- People with large fingers, or who are operating the device with only a part of their finger or knuckle.
SC 3.2.7 – Visible Controls
Interactive controls must be visible without hover or keyboard focus.
In cases, where multiple instances of a control is available within a page or within a multistep process, at least one instance of the control must be visible without mouse hover or keyboard focus.
- List view of an email listing – the trash icon may be visible using pointer hover and the trash button is also persistently visible on the email page.
- People with cognitive and learning disabilities can more easily locate controls.
- People with memory impairments do not need to remember where controls are located.
- People with low vision do not need to combine visual searching of controls and moving pointer hover or keyboard focus.
- People with motor impairments who use speech or other input methods do not need to use hover or focus to locate and operate controls.