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3.1: Introduction to WCAG

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    striped_lollipop_morgaine1976-300px-150x150-1-e1521733755321.pngNow that Lulu has a better understanding of what a web accessibility audit entails and has decided with certainty to move forward with one, she is seeking a recommended resource that might allow her webmaster to familiarize herself more thoroughly with the features of accessible web content. Without a doubt, WCAG 2.0 is the resource that she is looking for. Review the content below to understand the significance and purpose of this critical element of Lulu’s, and your, toolkit.

    Though it is possible to conduct informal accessibility reviews with basic understanding of the types of barriers faced by people with disabilities, and knowledge of the common elements in web content that often produce barriers, a thorough, professional review requires a solid understanding of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1, aka ISO/IEC 40500:2012).

    This unit will introduce you to WCAG (pronounced “wuh-kag”), which provides the basis for most international accessibility rules and legislation, along with its supporting documents. WCAG should be a key element of your Web Accessibility Auditing Toolkit. You should develop a basic understanding of WCAG to start, then use it and its supporting documents as references while conducting your audits and build upon the basics as you go about auditing web content.

    Toolkit: Add the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) to your Web Accessibility Auditing Toolkit. REQUIRED READING.
    Key Point: As of June 5, 2018, WCAG 2.1 was released, extending WCAG 2.0 with one additional guideline, and 17 new success criteria, that address accessibility across devices and for people with cognitive disabilities. Readers should refer to the newer version of the WCAG guidelines moving forward, though in many cases WCAG 2.0 remains the standard on which international legislation around web accessibility is based. WCAG 2.1 was designed so that complying with it, includes compliance with WCAG 2.0.

    Watch the following video for a brief overview of WCAG 2.0.

    Video: WCAG-WAI Basics

    Thumbnail for the embedded element "WCAG-WAI Basics"

    A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:

    © Richard Fouchaux. Released under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution license.

    Documents Accompanying WCAG

    Accompanying the WCAG specification itself are a variety of documents that expand on the guidelines. The two types of documents we would like to draw your attention to are:

    • Understanding Guidelines
    • How to Meet WCAG (referred to as Success Criteria)

    These documents are conveniently linked next to their corresponding guideline, as shown in the figure below.

    Document links to the right of the guideline

    Figure: Links to supporting documents appear next to each guideline in WCAG 2.0

    10 Key Guidelines

    Required Reading: The 10 Key Guidelines of WCAG 2.0/2.1 have been summarized in a downloadable PDF document. Download the 10 Key Guidelines [PDF] document, and read through it to familiarize yourself with the manner in which WCAG 2.0/2.1 addresses the most common accessibility issues.

    More About WCAG

    Toolkit: If you would like to explore WCAG 2.1 in greater detail than this Unit provides, bookmark the Introduction to Web Accessibility course.

    This page titled 3.1: Introduction to WCAG is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Digital Education Strategies, The Chang School.

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