WCAG 2.0 & 2.1

What is WCAG 2.0 & 2.1 Accessibility Compliance?

Well, WCAG stands for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. They are general guidelines that set the policies and rules for web accessibility in most countries around the globe.

Why you should care about the WCAG

With the formation of the WCAG, created by the World Wide Web Consortium, known as W3C. W3C focuses on standardizing the web protocols so that websites and web tools are compatible when used together. The W3C standards have 3 levels of compliance as A, AA, and AAA.

w3c wcag overview

A screenshot of the W3C web accessibility initiative page for web content accessibility overview.

Link to Web Content Accessibility Overview: https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/

What are the standards of the WCAG?

The entire guidelines are long and complex but here are some of the most important standards to understand.

  1. Perceivable – this refers to the ways that users perceive content online through their senses of sight, sound, and touch. This includes issues like captions for videos, text that can be adjusted for contrast, color, text size and spacing, font, and similar factors that make it easier to read.
  2. Operable – operability means the ways that someone can use the site. It’s particularly relevant to people with motor disabilities, weak muscles, injured limbs, etc. An operable site needs to be navigable entirely by keyboard, sight-assisted navigation, and other alternatives to a classic mouse.
  3. Understandable – understandable sites are easy for everyone to understand. They don’t use a lot of technical terms or complex jargon, don’t have complicated instructions that are difficult to follow, and have consistent directions won’t confuse readers.
  4. Robust – there are two factors for a robust site:
    • Using clean HTML and CSS code that meets recognized standards
    • Being compatible with assistive tools that people with disabilities use to browse online

Accessibility Laws

The accessibility guidelines are not a set of laws that are enforced by a government but it has been adopted by government around the world as a standard for accessible access. These are a short list of international accessibility laws that use the WCAG standard.

  1. United States: Uses the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 compliance which require at least a WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance.
  2. European Union: Uses the European Accessibility Act (EAA) that adopted the WCAG 2.0 & 2.1 guidelines and mandated a strict accessibility rating of Level AA for all European websites.
  3. Canada: Uses the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), which also use the WCAG standard and require their public and private sectors to be compliant.
  4. Australia: Uses the Australian Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), they strongly encourage businesses and services to meet WCAG 2.1 standards. All government agencies are required to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
  5. Israel: Uses the Israel Standard (IS 5568) accessibility law that requires businesses to make their sites accessible based on the WCAG standards.

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