WCAG 2.2: What changes for websites and how does it impact users?
Estimated read time: 10 minutes
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are an international standard for making web content accessible to people with disabilities. An updated version of WCAG – version 2.2 with 9 new success criteria and one promoted from AA to A – is expected to become the official standard in the summer of 2021. These updates focus on added guidance to help users with cognitive challenges, added criteria for eBooks and other types of digitized media, and new helpful guidelines especially for touchscreens and mobile platforms.
WCAG 2.2 follows the same theme of WCAG 2.1 – improving accessibility for three groups:
- users with cognitive or learning disabilities
- users with low vision
- users with disabilities on mobile devices
I’m Kate – an IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals) certified Web Accessibility Specialist and I work with Sam – an expert screen reader user. We both work for Fable, a leading accessibility testing platform powered by people with disabilities. While the W3C is an extremely thorough technical document, we thought it might be helpful to create a plain language summary of these changes, focused on required actions and resulting impact.
At Fable, we believe organizations should go beyond accessibility guidelines to create exceptional and accessible user experiences. However, WCAG compliance is often embedded into accessibility legislation, so it’s useful to understand what’s needed to comply and what the outcome should be.
We’re going to review WCAG 2.2 from two perspectives:
- Organizations that want to meet the new level A and AA guidelines
- How assistive technology users will benefit from the new guidelines
Note: we’re only going to cover changes that impact A and AA compliance, not AAA. Level AA compliance is widely considered the globally accepted minimum standard, based on various accessibility laws. We’ve done our best to ensure we’re accurately interpreting 2.2, but please make sure you’re also using the official W3C WCAG 2.2 reference document.