What is WCAG compliance?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
, or WCAG in short, are the world’s most comprehensive and robust guidelines for making your website accessible to disabled individuals.
WCAG is developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)—yes, the people who invented the Internet.
An international community that comprises member organizations, staff, and the public, W3C concentrates its efforts to standardize the Web, developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the Internet for all.
The emphasis here is indeed on ALL, including those with impairments of all sorts and types.
WCAG is the ultimate standard for web accessibility guidelines, providing a single shared standard that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
It is important to note that WCAG is not codified into law, as the integration between disability non-discriminatory legislation and Web accessibility is still a process in the making.
Nonetheless, governments across the globe have endorsed the WCAG standard in various forms, court rulings included, which places WCAG as the primary and safest standard for Web owners, developers, and designers.
In short, WCAG compliance is the assured path toward compatibility with the law and accessibility for the disabled.
WCAG Success Criteria
WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 have 12 to 13 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles which we will touch upon below.
Each guideline has a testable Success Criteria with three conformance levels: A (minimum), AA (good), and AAA (best).
The 4 WCAG principles
WCAG is organized around the four following principles, which are the absolute fundamentals of accessibility provision on the Web.
PerceivableIf the disabled are to gain equal access to the Web, all information and user interface components must be perceived by at least one or more of their senses.
OperablePeople with disabilities must be able to operate the website, provided with operable interface and navigation components.
UnderstandableIf those with impairments don’t understand what your website is offering, then it is inaccessible to them. Users must understand the information as well as the operation of interface components.
RobustWhen the content is robust, users have more options, and a wide range of disability issues can be answered. Those with disabilities must be able to access the content as technologies advance.
Staying true to these essential principles will render the opportunity to access and use Web content to everyone.
WCAG legal status
What`s essential to know is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) endorsed the WCAG resource as the Web accessibility standard for non-discriminatory laws concerning the disabled.
In 2008, the W3C recommended WCAG 2.0 as the international web standard. A website compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA would meet most legal standards and accessibility requirements for people with impairments.
A website compliant with WCAG 2.1 Level AA, which is our decisive recommendation, would enhance your website’s accessibility, stave off predatory lawyers, and conform your site in advance to future compliance requirements.
WCAG 2.1, published on June 5, 2018, includes all requirements from WCAG 2.0.
Outside the U.S.
More and more governments are requiring WCAG standards in their respective territories. The European Union, for instance, compels all public sector websites to meet the latest WCAG 2.1 standards.
Other countries have required WCAG standards, sometimes including the private sector on top of government entities.
From WCAG 2.0 to WCAG 2.1
However, the age of the smartphone and mobile Web was just getting started. There were also some disability types that did not receive much coverage in WCAG 2.0; namely those with low vision and cognitive disorders. The technology landscape has changed over the past 10 years and WCAG 2.0 needed an update.
The WCAG 2.1 Working Group polled various disability groups to determine the most pressing issues. They researched and prioritized community input to propose new Success Criteria.
The updated 2018 version addresses these issues with great success, effectively broadening the disabled market share.
Get your website WCAG 2.1 compliant NOW
Your digital presence can be accessible equally to everyone, regardless of disability or personal limitations.
EqualWeb is the only web accessibility technology
that combines full WCAG 2.1 compliance with an intuitive and seamless browsing experience for all, even as your site evolves and grows.
We aim for inclusive usability for all sites, browsers, and operating systems, regardless of traffic levels or upgrades, and without modifying your site’s existing codes.
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