The Twelve Days of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Submitted by Mike Shea on Fri, 12/04/2020
Summary
Summary
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are broken into 4 principles, (1) perceivable, (2) operable, (3) understandable, and (4) robust. This blog provides a quick walk-through on each guideline outlined in WCAG.

Along with experts in digital accessibility and the World Wide Web Consortium, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were first created in 1999. These set of guidelines help assist website developers and designers help to make the Web more accessible to people with disabilities. This set of guidelines have provided a resource to removing accessibility barriers and are broken into 4 principles (1) perceivable, (2) operable, (3) understandable, and (4) robust. The most recent version, WCAG 2.1, actually contains 13 guidelines. For the sake of a great holiday tune, we will add that one in at the end, so stay tuned. Cue the background music.

Text Alternatives

On the first day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me text alternatives (1.1). This guideline wants to ensure that anywhere there is non text content such as an image that there is also a text alternative. Alternative text should provide both content and function of a image.

Time Based Media

On the second day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me time-based media (1.2). This guideline helps ensure time-based media and synchronized media are both accessible to people with disabilities. Time-based media can include audio-only, video-only, and audio-video content and synchronized media is any audio or video added to a presentation such as a webinar. For this guideline you will want to make sure there are captions, audio descriptions, and transcripts for all media.

Adaptable

On the third day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me adaptability (1.3). This one is just about how it sounds, being adaptable means that all the information is available in a form that can be perceived by all users. Adaptable could mean presenting content in different ways which can be visually, audibly, and tactilely.

Distinguishable

On the fourth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me distinguishability (1.4). This guideline ensures that the foreground information can be separated from the background with sufficient contrast. WCAG requires a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text, graphics, and interface components.

Keyboard Accessible

On the fifth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me keyboard accessibility (2.1). This ensures that all functionality can also be completed by using only a keyboard.

Enough Time

On the sixth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me enough time (2.2). This is to make sure there are no time limits on content. Many users with disabilities need more time to complete tasks, this guideline allows users enough time to complete tasks required by the content.

Seizure Risk and Physical Reactions

On the seventh day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me seizure risk and physical reaction protection (2.3). In some cases, a person with a seizure disability can be triggered by flashing visual content. Although some seizures cannot be completely eliminated, any 3-per-second flashing should be eliminated.

Navigable

On the eighth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me navigation (2.4). This guideline focuses on the structure of the content. Structure helps a user find content and keep track of their location. This guideline works closely with the content being perceivable and adaptable.

Readable

On the ninth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me readability (3.1). People with disabilities often experience text in a lot of different ways. Therefore, it is important to not use to many abbreviations and use plain language throughout.

Predictable

On the tenth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me predictability (3.2). Having a consistent navigation will present the user with a predictable flow. This guideline helps make it easier for users to find navigation bars and other components.

Input Assistance

On the eleventh day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me input assistance (3.3). This guideline is important for form fields. Some users can encounter errors when filling in a form because of limited field of view, limited color perception, or use of assistive technology.

Compatible

On the twelfth day of web accessibility, WCAG brought to me compatibility (4.1). This guideline helps ensure compatibility with current and future assistive technologies. All interface components should have a name, role, and value.

WCAG 2.1 brought in a brand-new guideline which is guideline 2.5 input modalities which helps make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond the keyboard. For more information on each guideline follow the W3 link How to meet WCAG (Quick Reference) .

 


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