November 13, 2018

Standards: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 is Now a W3C Recommendation.

From the World Wide Web Consortium:

Today W3C announces a significant update to W3C’s internationally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which addresses accessibility of web content, websites and web applications on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 expands upon guidance developed by W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) over the years, and is used widely around the world to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.

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WCAG 2.1 expands existing coverage of mobile accessibility, and adds more provisions in the areas of low vision, and cognitive and learning disabilities.

“WCAG 2.1 improves support for interactions using touch, including guidance for complex gestures and for avoiding unintended activation of a touch interface. For low vision, WCAG 2.1 extends contrast requirements to graphics and introduces new requirements for text and layout customization to support better visual perception of content. And for cognitive, language, and learning disabilities, WCAG 2.1 includes requirements to provide information about the specific purpose of input controls and to support timeouts due to inactivity; both to help users better understand web content and how to successfully interact with it.” — Andrew Kirkpatrick, Head of Accessibility, Adobe

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From a W3C Blog Post:

For users of mobile devices, WCAG 2.1 provides updated guidance including support for user interactions using touch, handling more complex gestures, and for avoiding unintended activation of an interface. For users with low vision, WCAG 2.1 extends contrast requirements to graphics, and introduces new requirements for text and layout customization to support better visual perception of web content and controls. For users with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities, WCAG 2.1 improvements include a requirement to provide information about the specific purpose of input controls, as well as additional requirements to support timeouts due to inactivity. This can help many users better understand web content and how to successfully interact with it.

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WCAG 2.0 remains a W3C Recommendation. It was designed to be a highly stable, technology-agnostic standard, with informative supporting resources. The Working Group has taken care to maintain backwards compatibility of WCAG 2.1 with WCAG 2.0. All the criteria from WCAG 2.0 are included in WCAG 2.1, so web sites that conform to WCAG 2.1 will also conform to WCAG 2.0. As with WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1 will be supported by an extensive library of implementation techniques and educational materials, including Understanding WCAG 2.1 and Techniques for WCAG 2.1. These resources have been redesigned and moved from their previous locations to allow the Working Group to update them on an ongoing, instead of periodic, basis.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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