Sanna Kramsi - I would if I could a guide to web accessibility

WCAG 2.2

WCAG 2.2 was published as W3C's recommendation on October 5th 2023. It remains to be seen how quickly the laws change to require WCAG 2.2 instead of the current 2.1.

Changes from WCAG 2.1 to WCAG 2.2

There will be one change from WCAG 2.1. Criterion 4.1.1 Parsing is obsolete and it will be completely removed in WCAG 2.2. The criterion has received quite a lot of feedback of being obsolete and it has been discussed for a while now. They also added a note to WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 the criterion is obsolete.

Additions in WCAG 2.2

There are 9 new criteria. 2 for level A, 4 for level AA and 3 for AAA.

Guideline 2.4 Navigable

There is one new level AA criterion and two for level AAA under this guideline.

2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) - Level AA

This criterion aims to help people visually see the focused items. Sometimes there can be things like pop-up banners blocking the focused item. This criterion does allow part of the focused item to be behind some other element.

When a user interface component receives keyboard focus, the component is not entirely hidden due to author-created content. 

If the element covering the content can be moved around, only the initial position is considered for this criterion.

2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) - Level AAA

This is the enhanced version of the previous criterion. This one requires that all focused elements are fully visible. No author-created content can be on top of it.

When a user interface component receives keyboard focus, no part of the focus indicator is hidden by author-created content. 

2.4.13 Focus Appearance - Level AAA

They originally were going to have this criterion on level AA. But the criterion felt quite complicated. I'm glad they still kept the criterion even though it's now on level AAA.

When the keyboard focus indicator is visible, an area of the focus indicator meets all the following:

  • is at least as large as the area of a 2 CSS pixel thick perimeter of the unfocused component or sub-component, and
  • has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 between the same pixels in the focused and unfocused states

Exceptions:

  • The focus indicator is determined by the user agent and cannot be adjusted by the author, or
  • The focus indicator and the indicator's background color are not modified by the author.

Guideline 2.5 Input Modalities

There are two new level AA criteria under this guideline.

2.5.7 Dragging Movements - Level AA

All functionality that uses a dragging movement for operation can be achieved by a single pointer without dragging, unless dragging is essential or the functionality is determined by the user agent and not modified by the author. 

There is a note that this applies to web content that interprets pointer actions. The requirement doesn't apply to actions that are required to operate the user agent or assistive technology.

2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) - Level AA

This criterion aims to help people who have difficulties hitting small targets, for example, people with tremors.

The size of the target for pointer inputs is at least 24 by 24 CSS pixels, except where:

  • Spacing: Undersized targets (those less than 24 by 24 CSS pixels) are positioned so that if a 24 CSS pixel diameter circle is centered on the bounding box of each, the circles do not intersect another target or the circle for another undersized target;
  • Equivalent: The function can be achieved through a different control on the same page that meets this criterion;
  • Inline: The target is in a sentence or its size is otherwise constrained by the line-height of non-target text;
  • User agent control: The size of the target is determined by the user agent and is not modified by the author;
  • Essential: A particular presentation of the target is essential or is legally required for the information being conveyed.

Guideline 3.2 Predictable

There is one new level A criterion under this guideline.

3.2.6 Consistent Help - Level A

This criterion aims to help people with cognitive disabilities. If the help tools on a web page are always in a different place, it will require a lot of effort from people to find them. Consistency is key.

If a web page contains any of the following help mechanisms, and those mechanisms are repeated on multiple web pages within a set of web pages, they occur in the same relative order to other page content, unless a change is initiated by the user:

  • Human contact details;
  • Human contact mechanism;
  • Self-help option;
  • A fully automated contact mechanism.

They have a note that says that access to help mechanisms can be provided directly on the page or it can be provided via a direct link to a different page containing the information.

Note that the criterion does not require you to offer these help features. But if you have them, then they need to comply with these requirements.

Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance

There is one new criterion for each level under this guideline.

3.3.7 Redundant Entry - Level A

This criterion aims to help users so they don't have to re-type information they've already entered. This can reduce the cognitive load by quite a bit.

Information previously entered by or provided to the user that is required to be entered again in the same process is either:

  • auto-populated, or
  • available for the user to select.

Except when:

  • re-entering the information is essential,
  • the information is required to ensure the security of the content, or
  • previously entered information is no longer valid.

3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum) - Level AA

This criterion aims to help people with cognitive disabilities. Not allowing users to use password managers can be bad for the users. And not preventing the use of password managers is enough to pass this criterion.

A cognitive function test (such as remembering a password or solving a puzzle) is not required for any step in an authentication process unless that step provides at least one of the following:

  • Alternative: Another authentication method that does not rely on a cognitive function test.
  • Mechanism: A mechanism is available to assist the user in completing the cognitive function test.
  • Object Recognition: The cognitive function test is to recognize objects.
  • Personal Content The cognitive function test is to identify non-text content the user provided to the website. 

3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (No Exception) - Level AAA

This criterion is stricter than the previous one. This removes two of the allowed options. But allowing your users to use their password managers is enough for this one as well.

A cognitive function test (such as remembering a password or solving a puzzle) is not required for any step in an authentication process unless that step provides at least one of the following:

  • Alternative: Another authentication method that does not rely on a cognitive function test.
  • Mechanism: A mechanism is available to assist the user in completing the cognitive function test.

Source material