3 min Devops

W3C gives new recommendations for building an accessible site

W3C gives new recommendations for building an accessible site

The W3C is revamping the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines guide web developers in building accessible websites.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been updated to version 2.2. This makes nine new recommendations available to developers. They can use the guidelines to build a website that is more accessible. The guidelines are structured and should be usable for every website. To this end, W3C has collaborated with individuals and companies worldwide.

WCAG 2.2

The latest version contains a total of thirteen guidelines, which are divided into four basic principles that indicate that every website is perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. The guidelines are further subdivided into success criteria, and these have been expanded in the latest version.

The first helps with navigating a website and finding content. This guideline will be expanded under the success criteria “Focus Not Obscured” and “Focus Appearance”. The first is there for individuals who cannot use a mouse and, therefore, work with keyboard focus. The other criteria deal with the feature used to indicate that something is in focus and ensures that the feature is sufficiently noticeable.

Then, there are new options for users to give inputs. For example, mouse dragging will also have to offer an alternative, such as using arrows to change the order of blocks. In addition, buttons that require the user to click on them must be large enough, minimum 24 x 24 CSS pixels, and with sufficient white space surrounding them. This is because it is not obvious for all users to click a small button due to fine motor limitations, for example.

Those who need extra help will find assistance in the same place on every website from now on, according to the updated WCAG. The last three improvements are part of the “Input Assistance” guideline and support users to prevent and solve errors. However, the first directive serves more to prevent unnecessary typing, as users should be given the ability to easily copy text already typed unless a website prevents it for security reasons.

Finally, the last two criteria deal with accessible authentication. The idea here is to provide an authentication method that does not test cognitive skills, such as remembering a password.

Increased focus on accessibility

Within the tech sector, we do not encounter updates around accessibility on a regular base. More advanced applications, such as Android, do have an eye for it. However, it won’t be long before all developers read these guidelines. Starting in 2025, the European Accessibility Act (EAA) requires websites to install accessibility principles as well. The law will also apply to digital devices. Only small businesses with fewer than ten employees and an annual turnover of less than two million euros will be exempt.