New guidelines for website access
The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has announced a new standard to make websites more accessible to older and disabled people. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2 will apply to text, images, audio and video.
It also covers web applications and gives developers more flexibility than the old guidelines. According to the W3C, WCAG 2.0 should also be easier to understand and use.
WCAG 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.
WCAG 2.0 has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and alternatives for audio and video content.
- Make content adaptable; and make it available to assistive technologies.
- Use sufficient contrast to make things easy to see and hear.
- Make all functionality keyboard accessible.
- Give users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make text readable and understandable.
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future technologies.
WCAG follows the W3C format for technical specifications, which includes several sections at the beginning: links to different versions, editors, copyright, abstract, and status with the link to errata and the email address for comments.