The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released a working draft of the newest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): version 2.2. If you’re working on accessibility for your organization, it’s important to know that this new level of WCAG is anticipated. This article provides “at-a-glance” information on this new version of the WCAG. It also includes a direct link to the working document, and background details to get you up to speed.
Read the WCAG 2.2 new Working Document now: WCAG 2.2 AA Working Document (HTML)
What’s New in this Version?
This version brings the addition of one new success criteria, Focus Visible (enhanced) (HTML). It also includes guidelines to organize and definitions to support it.
Note this important guidance from WCAG on application of WCAG 2.2 AA:
“This additive approach helps to make it clear that sites which conform to WCAG 2.2 also conform to WCAG 2.1. The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group recommends that sites adopt WCAG 2.2 as their new conformance target, even if formal obligations mention previous versions, to provide improved accessibility and to anticipate future policy changes.”
How to Review and Submit Comment for the WCAG 2.2 AA Document
This is a “first draft” document of the new WCAG 2.2 AA, designed as an update to WCAG 2.1 AA. It includes one new success criterion. Additional success criterion will be released in future Working Draft documents, which are anticipated to be released in full by April 2020. Because the timeline is tight, it’s important for those of us who wish to, to submit comments soon.
Working Draft comment instructions:
“To comment, file an issue in the W3C WCAG GitHub repository. The Working Group requests that public comments be filed as new issues, one issue per discrete comment. It is free to create a GitHub account to file issues. If filing issues in GitHub is not feasible, send email to email@example.com (comment archive). The Working Group request comments on this draft be filed by 23 March 2020. In-progress updates to the guidelines can be viewed in the public editors’ draft.”
Background on WCAG and How it Impacts Accessibility Worldwide
The W3C and WCAG
The W3C is an international community made up of member organizations, W3C staff and members of the public, who are working together to develop standards to help guide website accessibility for people living with disabilities. The WCAG are the product of this work. As the guidelines change and improve, different versions are released. You can identify the version by the number (1.0, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2) The level of accessibility is measured within each guideline version with A being minimal, AA more accessible, and AAA the most accessible level.
International Application of the WCAG
This is a brief list and by no means a complete application of WCAG to all countries. Complete information for how countries are applying WCAG guidelines to their laws can be found on the W3C website.
- United States: The U.S. Access Board recommends WCAG version 2.0 AA. The U.S. law which governs the accessibility of digital venues in government, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 509, has applied WCAG 2.0 AA to its update.
- Europe: In 2018, the European Union adopted WCAG version 2.1 AA.
- Canada: Canada enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) into law in 2005. This law holds that all public sector, as well as private and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees, must make their website and web content compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA by January 2021. Not complying could mean up to $100,000 in fines per day of noncompliance.
Further reading from WeCo’s Accessibility Blog about accessibility measures including WCAG and Section 508:
Other WeCo Resources
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