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OGCIO

7. Accessibility Guidelines

7.1 World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Out of the need to support the creation of websites that work for persons with disabilities, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) put together the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). This brings together people from industries, disability organisations, governments, and research labs from around the world to develop guidelines and resources to help make the web accessible to persons with disabilities. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is developed with a goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility. (http://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/)

The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to persons with disabilities. WCAG 2.0 (published on 11 December 2008) and WCAG 2.1 (published on 5 June 2018) are both existing standards. WCAG 2.1 extends WCAG 2.0 by adding 17 new success criteria. This Handbook introduces WCAG 2.0 in view of the general international practice among other advanced economies.

At first glance the guidelines can appear quite complex. However, the guidelines are logical and with some effort, any website developer can understand how to use and comply with these guidelines. The most important thing to understand is that the guidelines consist of four parts as follows:

At the top are the four principles of Web Accessibility. Under the principles are the 12 guidelines, a range of guidelines focusing on different types of content. Within the guidelines there are 61 detailed success criteria and lastly there are techniques that can be used to meet the success criteria.

The 61 success criteria vary in importance as follows:

Level A is basic. Level AA is recommended. Level AAA is ideal.

Notes:

  • For Level A conformance (i.e. the minimum level of conformance), the webpage must satisfy all Level A Success Criteria.
  • For Level AA conformance, the webpage must satisfy all Level A and Level AA Success Criteria.
  • For Level AAA conformance, the webpage must satisfy all Level A, Level AA and Level AAA Success Criteria.