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Chris Jones |

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Where to Start?! What is Accessibility for a Website – and Who Writes the Guidelines for Something So Vast?

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility involves various elements such as colours, colour ratio, font sizing, font type, contrast, navigation, and alt text.

These elements all fall under the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), which state that ‘your website should be navigable, readable, and interactive for users with visual, auditory, cognitive, and physical impairments.’ For companies within the public sector, non-compliance can even lead to legal implications.

The WCAG is developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines outline how to make a website more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities.

The goal of the WCAG is to provide a shared standard for web content accessibility, ensuring the needs of individuals, organisations, and governments are met internationally. The levels of compliance are classified as follows:

  • Level A: The minimum level of accessibility, addressing the most basic web accessibility features.
  • Level AA: Addresses the most significant and common barriers for disabled users. This is the level that most organisations aim to meet.
  • Level AAA: The highest and most complex level of web accessibility, ensuring maximum accommodation for users with disabilities.
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More About the WCAG Guidelines

The WCAG guidelines are periodically updated to address new challenges and improve web accessibility. The most recent version is 2.2, which was released in October 2023. This version builds on WCAG 2.1, which was released in June 2018, addressing mobile accessibility, low vision accessibility, and cognitive and learning disabilities.

The key points added to WCAG 2.2 include:

  • Focus Appearance (Minimum): Ensures that keyboard focus indicators are more visible, helping users with low vision or cognitive impairments navigate websites more easily.
  • Dragging Movements: Addresses issues with drag-and-drop functionality, providing alternatives for users who may struggle with this interaction.
  • Accessible Authentication: Simplifies authentication processes, ensuring that users with cognitive impairments can log in or verify their identity without undue difficulty.
  • Redundant Entry: Minimises the need for users to enter the same information multiple times, reducing cognitive load and making forms easier to complete.
  • Target Size (Minimum): Builds on the WCAG 2.1 criteria for touch targets, further ensuring that interactive elements are large enough to be easily used by all users.

What Standard Should You Be Aiming For?

Here at WebBox, we aim to comply with WCAG Level AA when designing and developing client websites and apps. This is the standard most organisations, especially those in the public sector, should aim to meet. Ensuring that websites comply with these standards is crucial for several reasons, ranging from legal compliance to enhancing user experience.

If you are unsure about any of the information covered in this blog and want clarification, we are more than happy to talk you through anything.

We include accessibility checks within our Free Digital Audit, which is a great way to start any conversations about bringing things up to speed or ensuring everything is compliant.

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