WCAG: The Technical Standard for Compliance
AODA references The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as the technical standard for web compliance. These internationally recognized and adopted standards offer detailed guidance and success criteria for removing the barriers that people with disabilities encounter on the web.
WCAG has four guiding principles which require web content be:
- Perceivable. Information can be perceived in multiple ways; for example non-text content has alternative text, or videos have captions or audio descriptions.
- Operable. User interface and navigation functionality is available from a keyboard, as well as other input modalities like speech recognition and gestures.
- Understandable. Content is readable and understandable to the broadest possible audience, and appears and operates in predictable ways.
- Robust. Content is compatible with current and future tools, including browsers, assistive technologies, and other user agents.
And three levels of conformance:
- Level A provides some basic accessibility features, but doesn’t meet the needs of many people.
- Level AA addresses the most common barriers, and provides accessibility for most people. Most digital accessibility laws and standards require Level AA conformance.
- Level AAA is the highest and most complex standard, and may not be achievable for all content.
Previously, AODA required conformance with WCAG 2.0 Level A, which consist of 25 success criterion. As of January 1, 2021, AODA requires Level AA compliance, which adds 13 additional success criterion for a total of 38.
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