According to the What’s New in WCAG 2.2 Working Draft, the WCAG 2.2 is scheduled to be completed and published by June 2022. As a person who tests for accessibility every day, I’m looking forward to the WCAG 2.2’s release. While there are going to be nine new success criteria, a few of them I’m especially excited about for reasons I will explain.
Overall, I like the fact that the WCAG 2.2 introduces new guidelines to enhance the focus of on-screen elements to support better visual perception and keyboard operability for low vision users. WCAG 2.2 also includes requirements to provide additional information about the purpose of input controls as well as simplifying logging into websites for those living with a cognitive disability.
The success criterion “Element focus is visually indicated” WCAG 2.4.7 (Level AA) states that a visual indicator must be present, but does not have any requirements on the color contrast or size that the indicator must meet. With the WCAG 2.2 success criterion “Focus Appearance” WCAG 2.4.11 (Level AA), there is a requirement that the minimum size of the focus indicator must be at least a 1-pixel thick border around the element. This will make testing visual indicators for accessibility easier to determine if they are accessible or not.
The success criterion “Elements relying on complex gestures or pointer movements to operate can also be operated by single clicks, taps, or other simpler gestures” 2.5.1 (Level A) requires dragging features to be accessible. However, some interfaces that work with dragging and keyboard controls do not work using only clicks or taps. The WCAG 2.2 success criterion “Dragging Movements” 2.5.7 (Level AA) focuses on helping users with limited motor skills that struggle with performing path-based gestures (e.g. sliders, drag-and-drop interfaces) by providing a single pointer mode of operation. This will make testing for accessibility on maps that have various viewing options, for example, easier.
WeCo has long believed that an accessibility standard focusing on users with mobility disabilities having enough space to successfully navigate and interact with elements on websites should be part of accessibility testing. That is why WeCo created its own exclusive standard “Links and other interactive elements have enough space between them.” Included in the 2.2 version is the success criterion “Pointer Target Spacing” 2.5.8 Pointer (Level AA) which has requirements to help users with hand tremors be able to properly click on intended elements, such as buttons. It’s good to see that this long-believed accessibility issue has been recognized and addressed.
Like me, I hope you find the WCAG 2.2 to be helpful as you work towards implementing best practices for accessibility.
Sue Ann RodriquezDirector of Accessibility Services
Digital Accessibility by WeCo