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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)


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@2024-01-16 10:35:36

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the benchmark for crafting web-based content (like websites and web-based applications) that can be accessed by users of all abilities, especially those relying on assistive technologies. These guidelines, set by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), form the global standard for web accessibility. 

WCAG’s accessibility standards are based on four principles (often referred to as POUR):

  • Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presented to users in ways that they can perceive. For example, it’s important to present information that can be perceived in different ways, where a user can adjust color contrast or font size, or view captions for videos.
  • Operable: User interface components and navigation must be functional for users in ways they can operate. For example, a user must be able to perform required interactions using a keyboard or voice commands, not just using a mouse.
  • Understandable: Information and user interface operation must be understandable. For example, information and instructions should be clear and navigation methods should be easy to understand and use.
  • Robust: Content must be robust enough so that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of users and types of assistive technologies. As technologies evolve, code and content should remain accessible for users of common and current assistive devices and tools.

From WCAG 2.0’s inception in 2008 to the release of WCAG 2.2 in October 2023, each update builds upon its predecessor, maintaining backward compatibility while adding additional standards. For example, WCAG 2.1 added success criteria to 2.0 to improve mobile (and other small screen) experiences, and enhancements for people with low vision, motor and dexterity disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. WCAG 2.2 added more success criteria to elevate these standards. By conforming to the latest WCAG version, like WCAG 2.2, your experience automatically conforms with previous versions, 2.1 and 2.0.

@2024-01-16 10:36:31

WCAG itself is not a piece of legislation, so following its guidelines is referred to as “WCAG conformance” instead of “WCAG compliance.”

@2024-01-20 15:46:17

WCAG conformance levels

There are three levels of WCAG conformance: A, AA, and AAA. Each level builds on the previous level like a pyramid. So, in order to meet Level AA, you must meet all of Level A, and in order to meet Level AAA, you must meet all of Level AA.

  • Level A: This level represents the base level of conformance. Level A criteria affect the broadest group of users with the most benefits and are essential. But, with the base level of support, some barriers will still exist that impact certain groups of users.
  • Level AA: This level is the most common target conformance level, often adopted in regulations or negotiated in legal settlements. The criteria at this level establish a level of accessibility that works for more users, including those who use assistive technology
  • Level AAA: This is the highest conformance level achievable, meaning it covers the success criteria of all three levels. However, level AAA is not applicable or realistic in all situations. Some organizations may choose to adopt specific criteria at this level.

The vast majority of website owners should focus on Level A and AA—the globally accepted and recommended tier of accessibility. WCAG 2.2 AA conformance can help you meet current best practices for improved accessibility for people with disabilities as well as legal compliance obligations. 


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