Navigating WCAG 2.2: New Accessibility Guidelines for Organisations
Discover the latest changes to accessibility guidelines and why they matter to your organisation.
In today's digital age, creating an inclusive online environment is essential. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a framework for businesses to ensure their websites and digital content are accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. WCAG 2.2, the latest accessibility update, introduces new success criteria and improvements to enhance web accessibility. In this blog post, we explore the key changes in WCAG 2.2 and why they matter to your organisation.
Understanding WCAG 2.2
WCAG 2.2 were published as a "W3C Recommendation" web standard in October 2023, and builds upon its predecessors, WCAG 2.0 and 2.1. With WCAG 2.2, nine additional success criteria are introduced, making web content even more accessible. Most success criteria from WCAG 2.1 remain the same in WCAG 2.2, ensuring a smooth transition. However, one notable change is the removal of '4.1.1 Parsing' from WCAG 2.2. This emphasises the need for web developers to stay updated and adapt to evolving standards.
Understanding the WCAG 2.2 categories
There are three categories within WCAG 2.2, which define different conformance levels of accessibility. 'Level A' is the minimum level of conformance that all websites must adhere to and addresses the most basic accessibility requirements, AA establishes a higher standard that accommodates a broader range of users, and AAA represents the most comprehensive level, ensuring the highest level of inclusivity. The different levels in WCAG recognises that different websites and applications have varying degrees of complexity and diverse user needs. This system allows organisations to choose a conformance level that aligns with their specific context, market, resources and commitment to accessibility - although some organisations are legally required to meet at least Level AA.
Level A Changes
3.2.6 Consistent Help (A)
Consistency is key in web design. This success criterion requires that help mechanisms (forms, chatbots, contact information) if repeated across multiple pages, maintain the same relative order. This aids users, especially those with cognitive disabilities, in finding help easily.
3.3.7 Redundant Entry (A)
Avoiding redundant information entry is essential for users with cognitive disabilities. This criterion recommends not requesting the same information more than once during a session unless it's essential.
Level AA Changes
2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (AA)
This success criterion emphasises the importance of ensuring that when an item gains keyboard focus, it is at least partially visible. This is crucial for individuals who rely on keyboard navigation, as they need to see which element is currently active.
2.5.7 Dragging Movements (AA)
To accommodate users who can't perform dragging actions, this criterion recommends providing a simple pointer alternative for tasks involving dragging. This ensures that everyone can access and use drag-based features on your website.
2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) (AA)
To assist users with physical impairments, this success criterion mandates that clickable targets meet a minimum size (24 by 24 CSS pixels) or have adequate spacing. This prevents users from accidentally clicking the wrong elements, improving overall usability.
3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum) (AA)
Logging in should be straightforward for everyone. This criterion advises against requiring users to solve puzzles, memorise complex information, or transcribe content as part of the authentication process.
Level AAA Changes
2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) (AAA)
When an item receives keyboard focus, it must be fully visible. Providing clear visual feedback ensures an improved user experience for those who rely on keyboards for website navigation.
2.4.13 Focus Appearance (AAA)
This criterion stresses the need for a focus indicator with sufficient size (at least as large as the area of a 2 CSS pixel) and contrast (has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1). It's vital for users who may have difficulty perceiving small visual changes, such as older individuals or those with low contrast sensitivity.
3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (Enhanced) (AAA)
Going a step further, this criterion discourages requiring users to recognise objects or previously provided media to log in. It acknowledges that some users may struggle with such cognitive tasks.
As digital accessibility becomes increasingly important, complying with the latest guidelines like WCAG 2.2 is crucial. These standards not only ensure inclusivity for users with disabilities but also enhance the overall user experience. By implementing these new success criteria, your business can create a more accessible and user-friendly online presence, ultimately reaching a broader audience and demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity.