The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1), published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), build on and extend WCAG 2.0, which are the most widely-known and adopted web accessibility standards. Most country-specific accessibility standards are currently based on the WCAG 2.0 and related bodies of work. WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 (collectively referred to below as WCAG 2) explain, in broad terms, how to make web content more accessible to a wider group of people with disabilities. When a website meets the WCAG 2 standards, users with disabilities will generally have access to the same functionality and information as the users without disabilities. The WCAG requirements are referred to as “success criteria.”
Version 1.0 of the WCAG was first published in 1999, WCAG 2.0 was published in 2008, and WCAG 2.1 was published in June 2018. Some examples of web-based content where WCAG is applicable include:
The WCAG standards can be applied to other technologies such as software and native mobile apps. Non-normative documents have been provided to assist people in applying WCAG to non-web ICT and applying WCAG and other WAI standards to mobile technologies.
There are a total of 13 accessibility guidelines (12 in WCAG 2.0) organized under four principles of accessible design:
It is worth noting that the WCAG are meant to provide general guidance on implementing web accessibility. The guidelines themselves acknowledge that real world implementation strategy will vary from instance to instance. The WCAG working group provides guidance documents such as sufficient techniques known to meet success criteria and be accessibility supported and known failures which are techniques that are known to fail success criteria.
The WCAG 2 success criteria are broken up into three levels:
Web Accessibility Standards generally contain the WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA success criteria and conformance requirements with some movement toward adoption of WCAG 2.1 in specific regions by adoption of WCAG 2.1 into the European Standards EN301-549.
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