What is WCAG?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are basically a list of things that we can do to make our digital asset accessible to people with disabilities.

It really all it comes down to there are technical standards for accessibility and they are guidelines that are created by the World Wide Web Consortium under their Web Accessibility Initiative.

The W3C is a nonprofit nongovernmental international agency- not agency, it’s a community that works together to develop web standards so essentially these people are trying to make the web more uniform.

They maintain various standards. For example, HTML, CSS, etc. and these standards are so that designers and developers have frameworks to work from when building websites and applications and whatever else.

And WCAG, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or another set of standards that are specific to web accessibility.

The good thing- the good thing is that these standards can apply to other digital assets as well.

Some- some not perfectly but the concepts in the principles still apply so the Web Accessibility Initiative or WAI is one of the W3C’s primary initiatives and the WAI develops guidelines and materials to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities.

So WCAG has three conformance levels and they are A, AA, and AAA.

And these conformance levels are available for each version of WCAG.

So in 2008, version 2.0 was published and I called this the classic version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

2.1 was released in 2018 and to me this is the present and current version.

And two 2.2 is expected in 2022.

Now when I say all of those versions it can sound like more than it is, but what’s important to remember is that each version builds on top of the previous version so nothing is undone.

2.1 didn’t undo 2.0. Alll 2.1 did was build on 2.0 and that’s the same thing with 2.2. 2.2 will build on 2.1.

So what happens is in each successive version of WCAG, they add additional what are called success criteria.

The success criteria are basically requirements to meet the version and conformance level for accessibility.

So version 2.0 conformance level AA consists of 38 different success criteria.

So these are 38 different things that you need to account for or incorporate into your website or other digital asset.

And if and- So what you’re trying to do what- what you’re striving to do is that you’re trying to get to the point where you’re in full conformance with a given version and conformance level.

So if you are conformant with version 2.1 conformance level AA, you’re doing a really good job and that’s where you want to get to.

And that and 2.1 EA has 50 different success criteria.

Now, not all success criteria are equal. Some are more difficult to meet than others. Some are more technically complex. Some require more manual work and effort. And others are very easy a few we can account for in a second- in a few seconds.

So, for example, assigning a language to a web page – we can easily go look and make sure that our language is set on our web page in the HTML and usually it is by default so that’s a very, very easy accessibility consideration to take into account.

I’m looking through my notes.

So with the different conformance levels, think of them as level A creates a basic level of accessibility level.

A is very, very important you will often see level A success criteria involved in litigation. This will be what- what complaints or demand letters consist of is complaints from level A.

Level AA creates a strong level of accessibility and level AA has been referenced over and over again in as a legal standard both in regulation and in case law.

So level AA conformance is where you want to be.

AAA conformance creates an excellent level of accessibility.

However, it’s not always practical to be AAA conformant.

Where possible it’s nice if you are AAA conformant, but it is not seen as a- it’s not a necessity.

And a single requirement is called a success criterion.
When you’re saying- when you’re referring to the plural, it’s success criteria and so that is that is basically all.

2.2 was coming supposedly at the end of 2021, but this has been it’s been over a year since it was supposed to come last year so we just don’t know but it does take a while for these for these different versions to become finalized and understandably so because they are relied upon as technical standards.

3.0 is being worked on and I’m not even concerned with 3.0 and I don’t think anybody else should be either.

The good thing is that 3.0 is going to be like more of a new a new scoring system than it is different accessibility principles.

So what is important is that you’ve got these considerations incorporated into your website.

What is not important is that you’re focusing in on the different scoring systems. You don’t- that’s not that’s not where the focus should be.

The focus should be on making sure that you have major but your website or your other digital asset is flexible so that multiple people with different disabilities and different degrees of disabilities using all sorts of different environments browser combinations and assistive technology combinations and whatever else- you making sure that your asset is accessible to them.

And so that is that is it on WCAG. It stands against it stands for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

If you are off- if your digital asset is not web-based then you can still look too you can still look to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for guidance because it’s going it’s going to have all of the applicable principles that you need to take into account.

Further there is a non- it’s not official, but it is a document a draft that the WAI has published to help people who are making web apps or- I’m sorry mobile apps they’re looking to make mobile apps accessible, there is a document that speaks to how WCAG relates to- making a web- mobile app accessible.