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

What is WCAG?

The goal of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility. The guidelines are developed through the W3C process. Individuals and organizations around the world cooperate on the guidelines.

The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web “content” generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • code or markup that defines the structure, presentation, etc.

WCAG 2.0 was released in 2008, and WCAG 2.1 in 2018. In Finland and the EU, accessibility requirements require conforming to version 2.1. Version 2.2 was released on October 5th 2023. It is not yet in any official requirements. WCAG 3 is already in progress, but it won't be ready for years.

WCAG conformance levels

There are three levels of conformance categories. The idea for this is to meet the needs of different groups and different situations. The levels are A (lowest), AA (mid-range), and AAA (highest). Conformance at higher levels indicates conformance at lower levels. Level AA is the level that is legally required for certain sites.

The four principles of accessibility

POUR is an acronym for four high-level principles that describe functional accessibility.  Accessible technology is Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.

  1. Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
    • This means that the information presented cannot be invisible to all of their senses.
  2. Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable.
    • This means that users must be able to operate the interface. The interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform.
  3. Understandable - Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable.
    • This means that the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding.
  4. Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
    • This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance. As technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible.

If any of these are not true, users with disabilities will not be able to use the Web.

It is important to remember that the underlying spirit of POUR is not about adhering to rules. The spirit is all about understanding and meeting the diverse needs of your users.

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