This blog has been updated to reflect the most recent information from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Last year, WC3 announced a new version of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): WCAG 2.2. The final version of 2.2 has not yet been released, but for now, W3C has released a draft containing nine new success criteria.
While the draft isn’t final, getting a head start on implementing the 2.2 A and AA success criteria will benefit you in at least a couple of ways. First, it helps your audience better access your website. Secondly, 2.2 conformance demonstrates your ongoing commitment to accessibility.
Below is our summary of the proposed WCAG 2.2 success criteria, plus a checklist for website owners who want to get a head start.
WCAG 2.1 vs. WCAG 2.2: What’s New?
The new WCAG 2.2 success criteria focus on accessibility for users with low vision, cognitive and learning disabilities, and motor disabilities. They also address mobile devices and e-books.
How WCAG 2.2. relates to prior WCAG versions
As with WCAG 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1, WCAG 2.2 builds on previous versions. No success criteria have been undone – only added or updated. So, while WCAG 2.1 contains 78 success criteria, WCAG 2.2 contains 87 – 78 from 2.1, plus nine new success criteria.
Also, like previous versions, WCAG 2.2 breaks down testable success criteria into three levels: A, AA, and AAA. Each conformance level contains the criteria from the lower levels, so if your website and other digital assets conform to WCAG 2.2. AA, they automatically conform to WCAG 2.2 A.
Level A success criteria create a minimum baseline for accessibility. However, some global accessibility laws, such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, require AA conformance, which goes beyond the minimum. Level AAA provides for more advanced accessibility measures, but these are not required by law.
The vast majority of website owners should focus on level AA – the globally accepted and recommended tier of accessibility. WCAG 2.2 AA conformance can help you meet current best practices for improved accessibility as well as legal compliance.
WCAG 2.2 Checklist
Even though WCAG 2.2 hasn’t been officially released yet, it’s a good idea to get your digital assets in conformance with the latest standards as soon as possible. The checklist below can help you get a better understanding of the WCAG 2.2 success criteria and how they can further advance the accessibility of your website.
2.4.11 Focus Appearance (Level AA): Focus indicators must have sufficient color contrast and must be of a sufficient size so as to be clearly visible.
2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured – Minimum (Level AA): When a user interface component receives keyboard focus, at least a portion of it must remain visible.
2.4.13 Focus Not Obscured – Enhanced (Level AAA): When a user interface component receives keyboard focus, none of the focus indicator may be hidden by author-created content. This is the AAA level of success criterion 2.4.12 listed previously.
2.5.7 Dragging Movements (Level AA): If any part of your website requires a dragging movement, provide an alternative means of dragging, such as tapping or clicking. For example, instead of dragging a map, the interface could offer buttons that move the map in a particular direction.
2.5.8 Target Size – Minimum (Level AA): All interactive targets should be at least 24×24 CSS pixels in size. This can include white space around the target. Additionally, there must be sufficient space between targets.
3.2.6 Consistent Help (Level A): If you make a help option available, make sure it’s available consistently, and in the same relative place. This will make it easier to locate while navigating your website.
3.3.7 Accessible Authentication (Level AA):. If your site requires a cognitive test, such as memorizing a username and password in order to log in, there needs to be a different way to authenticate that doesn’t require the ability to do that, or a help mechanism needs to be made available to assist with that. At this level, a cognitive function test that requires the recognition of an object, like a stop sign, is allowed, as is a test that asks a user to identify a picture or image the user provided to the website.
3.3.8 Accessible Authentication – No Exception (Level AAA): Users shouldn’t be forced to memorize information or necessarily spell correctly. Those and other tasks are considered cognitive tests. If an authentication process has a cognitive function test in a step, the site needs to provide an alternative that doesn’t or provide a help mechanism to complete the test. In addition–and this is a key difference between SC 3.3.7 and 3.3.8–authentication by using object recognition or user-provided content (e.g., a pic uploaded by the user) isn’t permitted at this level.
3.3.9 Redundant Entry (Level A): For steps in a process, such as registering or completing a form, information that the user has already entered must be made available to them. This helps users by not making them enter information more than once unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Remember, because this is version is not yet final, there’s a good chance the WC3 will update the success criteria for clarity. They may also push some of the criteria into level AAA.
Note: WCAG conformance is not the same as legal compliance. But, in the current legal landscape, WCAG conformance is a recommended best practice for avoiding a web accessibility lawsuit.
Digital accessibility is a long game
The impending release of WCAG 2.2 serves as a reminder that achieving digital accessibility is an ongoing, dynamic process. Laws change in response to user needs, and WCAG success criteria evolve accordingly, requiring website owners to stay on top of their content. There’s no such thing as a one-and-done solution for web content accessibility.
The good news is that with the right support, WCAG 2.2 AA conformance is absolutely achievable. Learn more about how eSSENTIAL Accessibility can help get your digital offerings in shape to reach a wider audience.
eSSENTIAL Accessibility has changed its name to Level Access! Read More
What to do next
We can help you meet WCAG standards and maintain ADA and AODA compliance:
- Connect with us today to learn more about our comprehensive approach to digital accessibility, including our automated and manual auditing capabilities and extensive range of managed services.
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