Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Compliance
Adopting WCAG means creating a more accessible web. Get compliant now to prevent lawsuits, improve UX, and position your organization as a leader.
Are you legally required to follow WCAG?
Although the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are not enforceable requirements by themselves, there are many accessibility regulations worldwide that do require conformance with WCAG success criteria (while WCAG 2.0 A and AA criteria is currently the most widely adopted requirement, we are already seeing the shift to WCAG 2.1 A and AA in legal settlements worldwide as well as adoption in laws in some countries).
For example, Section 508, AODA, CVAA, and the Australian DDA are currently still based on WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA success criteria. Most legal settlements and U.S. Department of Justice Consent Decrees are already referencing WCAG 2.1 A/AA) The EU Accessibility Directive uses WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA.
What are the different WCAG levels A, AA, and AAA?
WCAG has four overarching principles (POUR) to determine whether something is compliant. There are a total of 13 guidelines beneath the four main principles. And under each guideline has a series of Success Criteria (objective and measurable requirements).
There are three types of guidance in Techniques for WCAG 2.0: sufficient techniques, advisory techniques, and failures. Each sufficient technique is a documented way to meet a success criterion/requirement. Do keep in mind that sufficient techniques are NOT requirements themselves. They are simply a possible way to meet a requirement. Advisory techniques might help some people with disabilities but they may not be sufficient to meet the entire requirement. Failures are barriers to your web content and prevent you from being fully compliant.
- Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
- Provide alternatives for time-based media.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Provide users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
- Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
- Make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond keyboard.
- Make text content readable and understandable.
- Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
What are the most common WCAG issues?
We compiled anonymized audit data from a large number of companies across various industries and geographies, spanning 13,000+ pages/page states, and nearly 300,000 issues to understand more about testing coverage and common issues. We found that the Success Criteria 3.1.1 Language of Page, 4.1.1 Parsing, 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum), 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 1.1.1 Non-Text Content, 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value and 1.3.1 Info and Relationships accounted for over 80% of total issues found.
|#||Success Criteria #||Success Criteria Name||Total issues||Manual issues||Auto issues||Manual %||Auto %||% of ALL Issues by SC||Cumulative % of Issues|
|2||4.1.2||Name, Role, Value||48,287||22,011||26,276||45.58%||54.42%||16.37%||46.45%|
|3||1.3.1||Info and Relationships||36,382||19,950||16,432||54.83%||45.17%||12.33%||58.78%|
|10||1.4.1||Use of Color||3,713||3,261||452||87.83%||12.17%||1.26%||90.22%|
|12||3.3.2||Labels or Instructions||2,537||2,019||518||79.58%||20.42%||0.86%||92.20%|
|15||3.1.1||Language of Page||2,173||178||1,995||8.19%||91.81%||0.74%||94.54%|
|#.#.#||Rest of WCAG 2.1 A/AA SC||16,090||15,889||201||98.75 %||1.25 %||5.46%||100.00%|
|Totals||294,958||125,716||169,242||42.62 %||57.38 %|
Is it possible to meet 100% of the WCAG success criteria?
We consistently tell our clients: Compliance is about progress, not perfection. There are few (if any) organizations that have zero WCAG issues. While you should strive for 100%, it is more reasonable to set a sustainable goal of having no critical errors, while also passing 90% or more of the WCAG 2.1 A/AA requirements.
How to take action and conform to WCAG
1. Perform an audit
Have a complete accessibility audit performed on your site and apps to determine your current level of accessibility.
2. Prioritize severe issues
Determine which parts of your site or app need to be prioritized based on usage and the severity of the accessibility barriers. Consider outsourcing remediation if time is of the essence.
How Deque Can Help
Most accessibility projects begin and end with an audit – they assess the current state of your site or application’s accessibility resulting in a clear accessibility report.Learn More about accessibility audits
Accessibility Fundamentals: Disabilities, Guidelines, and Laws. This course provides an overview of important web accessibility concepts, suitable for both technical and non-technical audiences.Learn More accessibility training
If you’re looking for help with previous guidelines or the latest WCAG 2.2, we’re available to help now.Contact us
Axe Testing Tools
The axe DevTools, axe Auditor and axe Monitor products enable accessibility experts and development to test and maintain accessibility end-to-end.Learn More about the axe Suite