WCAG 2.2: The Next Step in Digital Accessibility

[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

In a fast-paced race to the future, the track is not the same for everyone. The digital inclusivity of people with disabilities has become a reality with the current technological inventions and laws. When it comes to the World Wide Web, there is one golden rule that helps sites achieve maximum digital accessibility with timely user-centric updates.

The WCAG, or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, was created in 1999 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to provide a framework to make content simple. The next version—that is, WCAG 2.0—was released in 2008 with updates as technology became more capable. This version is referred to as the golden standard, and WCAG 2.1 (2018) just mended the gaps in version 2.0.

The latest version WCAG 2.2 is now set to be released in the summer of 2021, with a draft already available for feedback. This version provides additional support to the previous version in areas that had space for improvisation. Each new version adds to itself all previous versions; therefore, compliance to WCAG 2.2 implies conformance to all the previous versions. Eight new points have been stressed in this version, and their importance is immense. There are A, AA, and AAA conformance levels, and AA-level conformance—which in and of itself is not very easy to achieve—has become a norm to avoid digital accessibility lawsuits and cut litigation costs.

Firms that are keen on improving accessibility of and to their websites must prepare to include these eight new success criteria, as they are likely to be published as such:

  1. Accessible Authentication (A): Alternative ways that don’t require cognitive tests to prove one is a human
  2. Dragging (AA): Tapping or clicking options instead of dragging
  3. Findable Help (A): Help option consistently provided in the same place
  4. Fixed Reference Points (A): Same page numbers in print and electronic versions
  5. Focus Appearance (Minimum) (AA): Focus indicator that stands out from the background

Focus Appearance (Enhanced) (AAA): Focus indicator with solid border and contrast color

  • Redundant Entry (A): Filling out already entered information through auto fill or selection
  • Hidden Controls (AA): Important controls remain visible throughout
  • Pointer Target Spacing (AA): Better pixels and a white background

Also in WCAG 2.2, Focus Visible has been changed from Level AA to Level A.

This version aims to support people with cognitive and learning disabilities, users with low vision, and users with disabilities on mobile devices. These success criteria make websites easier to navigate, explore, and use for a wide range of people, from dyslexic students to retirees with low vision and hand tremors. WCAG pushes websites to become more user-friendly and provides a single shared standard for web content accessibility globally. It is always safe for sites to set the latest version as their target, even in the absence of formal obligations, to provide improved accessibility in anticipation of future changes.

Amnet, being a Benetech-certified accessibility service provider with two decades of experience, will revamp your website to conform to the latest standards of digital accessibility.

1. “Decoding WCAG 2.1: Understanding the Differences between WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 and Its Implication,” Amnet White Paper. https://amnet-systems.com/decoding-wcag-2-1-whitepaper-download/
2. https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG22/.
3. https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/new-in-22/.

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