There are two versions of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG 1 contains 14 main guidelines with a total of 65 in all. WCAG 2, still in draft format, has reorganised and combined many of the WCAG 1 guidelines to create 21 new ones.
Each guideline has a one or more ‘checkpoints’ which developers should consider to ensure the accessibility of a Web page. Each checkpoint has a priority level based on its impact on Web accessibility.
The WCAG provides a number of examples and techniques to help Web developers to implement the guidelines. There is also a downloadable training course entitled the Curriculum for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. The course is a few years old and needs updating. Saying that, it does provide a good foundation to the topic.
WCAG Priority Levels
There are 3 WCAG priority levels. Compliance with the recommendations of each level ensures greater accessibility of Web pages.
Priority 1 – Web developers MUST satisfy these checkpoints or some groups of people will find it impossible to access information on their site. This is considered to be the absolute minimum level of compliance.
Priority 2 – Web developers should satisfy these checkpoints or some groups of people will find it difficult to access information on their site. This is considered to be the preferred level of compliance.
Priority 3 – If Web developers satisfy these checkpoints the majority of users will be able to access ALL of the information on their site. This is considered to be the optimum level of compliance.
The WCAG guidelines have three levels of conformance.
- Conformance Level “A”: all Priority 1 checkpoints are satisfied. This is known as ‘WCAG A’ compliant.
- Conformance Level “Double-A”: all Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints are satisfied. This is known as ‘WCAG AA’ compliant.
- Conformance Level “Triple-A”: all Priority 1, 2, and 3 checkpoints are satisfied. This is known as ‘WCAG AAA’ compliant.
There are 14 main WCAG guidelines.
If you want to procure, or design and build sites with accessibility in mind in the UK, you’ll find the following documents useful:
- Accessible Website Design
- What is the RNIB
- RNIB Campaign For Good Website Design
- Can I be Prosecuted Over An Inaccessible Website?
- Who Prosecutes Companies?
- Web Accessibility Legal Cases in the UK
- Designing Websites For Blind Users
- Test Your Website For Accessibility Issues
- Web Accessibility Discrimination Prosecution cases in Australia
- When Must A Website Be Accessible By?
- Web Accessibility Minimum Requirements in the UK
- The Grey Area Of Website Design: Web Accessibility
- Accessible Website Design In The UK
- What Is The WAI?
- What is the W3c?
- What is WCAG?
- What is Section 508?
- First company prosecuted in the UK over inaccessibility
- Who is Jakob Nielsen?