Super quick overview of WCAG 2.0

The W3C released the Candidate Recommendation of the WCAG 2.0 at the end of last month. Since then there have been numerous posts on this fact, but nothing up-to-date on the guidelines themselves. I haven’t really seen anything new since a draft version I first started looking at in July last year. Here is my super quick overview of the documentation and guidelines – and by super quick I mean just that, there is no specific detail walk through of each success criterion.

  • The new guidelines are designed to be technology independent, therefore encouraging new technologies as they’re introduced.
  • The items to check your pages against are called success criteria (formerly known as checkpoints), split into 4 principals and can be remembered with the mnemonic POUR:
    1. Perceivable: information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive
    2. Operable: user interface components and navigation must be operable
    3. Understandable: information and the operation of user interface must be understandable
    4. Robust: content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies
  • Instead of a set of technologies that a user-agent should support you now have to specify a “baseline” which is the minimum that should be supported when making your conformance claim. Take a look at an example conformance claim taken from a website that is being used as a case study by the to prove the guidelines can be implemented successfully.
  • Conformance claims can be made for single pages, multiple pages in a process or a whole site. You must ensure that the claim you make for each of these is maintained throughout, for example; a registration flow given level AA – all pages in that process must achieve at least level AA.

Start using WCAG 2.0 now!

There are just over 60 success criteria in total, but while that sounds like a mountain of information to get through you have to remember that it’s unlikely that they’ll all apply to your site.

We encourage you to start using WCAG 2.0 now. Be aware that while the WCAG 2.0 “Candidate Recommendation” published on 30 April 2008 is stable, it may change a little based on implementation experience. Until WCAG 2.0 is finalized, WCAG 1.0 is the completed, referenceable version.

WCAG 2.0 FAQs on WAI

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