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WCAG 2.1

WCAG 2.1

In the real world we have things such as ramps along side stairs, we have raised patterns on remote controls and signs that have brail. We understand that these provisions were made for people with disabilities, this is done to provide access to areas, information as well as functionality that any given person may need. Web accessibility is an extension of this, by using best practices and setting guidelines that reduce or ultimately remove the barrier of entry and to ensure that all users have equal access to information and functionality as a whole. Ultimately access by everyone regardless of their disability or disabilities is an absolute essential aspect.

WCAG 2.0 was published a decade ago, which for us is an eternity in internet years! On June 5th 2018, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced a major update to its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the world’s most widely accepted and anticipated technical standard for digital accessibility. The new version – introducing WCAG 2.1. This expands the guidance provided in the previous version, WCAG 2.0 is to include more coverage of mobile accessibility and provisions for people with low vision, senior citizens and those with cognitive and learning disabilities. With these updates, WCAG 2.1 helps organisations to improve inclusion and thereby better serve a wider audience!

These standards are given to us by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which is lead by the inventor of the the World Wide Web – Mr Tim Berners-Lee.

WCAG consists of four principles:

  • Perceivability
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

WCAG 2.1 is an extension to WCAG 2.0 and has also become an official W3C recommendation which means WCAG 2.1 went through a massive process and evaluation and thereafter became an official web standard. One of the newest standards is that websites must not only be fully accessible on desktop, but on tablets, iPads and on mobile too.

Who was W3C focusing on when making these standards?

  1. People with cognitive learning disabilities
  2. People with low vision
  3. Senior citizens
  4. Mobile device users

WCAG uses three levels to distinguish the extent of compliance with WCAG 2.1, these levels being A, AA and finally AAA. This is what they represent:

A – Lowest level of compliancy.

AA – Moderate level of compliancy and the most popular level.

AAA – Full compliancy, although not many websites achieve this level as it is sometimes simply not possible to adhere to every single rule with some content.

So what does this mean for you?

It’s imperative that WCAG 2.1 is included in your digital strategy and incorporated correctly. WCAG 2.1 is actually really great in that it focuses on modern user habits such as mobile use, and more modern design trends on the web!

Making your website accessible isn’t just for the designer or the developer, it should be at the top of your priority list at any point, this even includes the way you write your content, at the end of the day it all has an impact on accessibility!

So, is this easy work? No. Is it deeply meaningful, contributive and important? Absolutely! Make a positive impact and be part of the solution! It’s time to step up to the plate and help create the much needed solutions that are needed today.

Contact us today for solutions and allow us to help you out! web@piidigital.co.za


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