Not all websites are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. That’s where WCAG 2.2 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) come into play.
In today’s digital age, the internet has become an integral part of our lives, and accessing websites and digital content is a routine activity.
These guidelines provide a framework for creating accessible websites and digital content that everyone, including those with disabilities can use.
In this article, we’ll explore what WCAG 2.2 is, the release date of this standard, who creates the guidelines, the different standards that exist within WCAG, and how to meet these guidelines.
What is WCAG 2.2?
WCAG 2.2 is the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of guidelines designed to make digital content more accessible for people with disabilities.
WCAG 2.2 provide recommendations that aim to make web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as blindness or low vision, deafness or hearing loss, limited mobility, speech disabilities, and photosensitivity.
While the guidelines do provide some accommodations for those with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations, they may not address every user need for individuals with these disabilities.
The guidelines apply to web content viewed on various devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, facilitating digital inclusion.
By following these guidelines, web content becomes more usable not only for individuals with disabilities but for all users.
Accessibility is also an ethical and legal requirement, as seen in most websites’ privacy policies.
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WCAG 2.2 release date
According to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), WCAG 2.2 is scheduled to be completed and published in May 2023.
The main difference between WCAG 2.1 and 2.2 is that WCAG 2.2 introduces nine new success criteria that aim to improve the accessibility of web content for people with disabilities.
The new success criteria cover topics such as focus appearance, target size, dragging movements, consistent help, accessible authentication, and redundant entry.
Before WCAG 2.2, there were several previous versions of the guidelines. WCAG 1.0 was the first version, released in 1999, followed by WCAG 2.0 in 2008. WCAG 2.1 was released in 2018, introducing new success criteria and updates to existing ones.
Each version builds upon the previous one and aims to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
Who creates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?
The WCAG guidelines are developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web.
The W3C is made up of members from various organizations, including businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
What are the WCAG standards?
As we’ve mentioned before, the WCAG standards provide guidelines for making digital content more accessible covering a range of areas, including:
- Perceivable: It includes guidelines for making digital content perceivable to people with disabilities. For example, recommendations for providing alternative text for images, captions for videos, and audio descriptions for multimedia content.
- Operable: This involves guidelines for making digital content operable for people with disabilities. This includes recommendations for providing keyboard access, allowing users to pause or stop animations, and making sure that content does not flash more than three times per second.
- Understandable: This category includes guidelines for making content understandable for people with disabilities. This involves using clear and straightforward language, providing instructions in a logical order, and providing feedback to users when an error occurs.
- Robust: It includes guidelines for making digital content robust for people with disabilities. This includes recommendations for using standard markup and coding practices and ensuring that content is compatible with assistive technologies.
How many WCAG guidelines are there?
There are a total of 13 guidelines in the WCAG 2.2 standards. Each guideline is broken down into one or more success criteria, which provide specific recommendations for making digital content more accessible.
How are these guidelines categorized?
The WCAG 2.2 guidelines are categorized into three levels of conformance: A, AA, and AAA. Level A provides the most basic level of accessibility, while level AAA provides the highest level of accessibility.
How to meet WCAG
Meeting the WCAG guidelines can be a complex process, as it requires a thorough understanding of digital accessibility and web development.
However, several tools and resources are available to help developers meet these guidelines, such as accessibility checkers, screen readers, and assistive technology testing.
To meet the WCAG guidelines, developers must first conduct a thorough accessibility audit of their digital content.
This audit should identify any accessibility barriers that may exist and provide recommendations for making the content more accessible.
Once accessibility barriers have been identified, developers can implement the necessary changes to meet the WCAG guidelines.
This may involve making changes to the design, layout, and content of the digital content and testing the content with assistive technologies to ensure that it is accessible to people with disabilities.
There are several tools and techniques available to check the web accessibility of a website. One of the most popular tools is the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE), which analyzes a website and provides a detailed report on accessibility issues.
It is also important to conduct manual testing to verify accessibility. This may include testing with different assistive technologies, such as screen readers and virtual keyboards, to ensure that the content is compatible with these technologies.
Another way to enhance accessibility in digital environments is to use proctoring tools for training and certification programs.
Education is crucial in ensuring that all individuals have access to the same platforms and opportunities. In this regard, SMOWL’s proctoring products can help make your selection, training, or certification processes much more accessible.
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