Not only is meeting minimum website compliance important to avoid a lawsuit or government action, but more importantly it provides an equal opportunity for individuals with a disability to enjoy your goods or services.
The WCAG are the guidelines currently used to determine if your website is ADA compliant and which level of conformance it meets. In the article below, we’ll break down WCAG and share some tools and tips on how to make your website compliant.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
WCAG is a series of guidelines, created by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, to determine a worldwide technical standard for web content accessibility. In 1999, WCAG 1.0 was published as the original version, and in 2008, the latest version was released as WCAG 2.1. WCAG 2.1, is organized into 4 categories: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Within each of those categories, there are guidelines and criteria to help determine what level a website conforms to (A, AA, or AAA).
How to make your website compliant with WCAG
The best way to meet the guidelines is to determine which level of conformance your organisation needs to meet and devise a plan to meet it. Decide if you’re going to have a professional handle the process from start to finish, or if you just need to make a few tweaks and can handle those tweaks internally.
To get a better idea of what it takes to meet the guidelines, check out these examples:
A: Minimum level
- 1.1.1 – Non-text Content: provide text alternatives for non-text content
- 1.2.1 – Audio-only and Video-only (Pre-recorded): provide an alternative to video-only and audio only content
- 1.2.2 – Captions (Pre-recorded): provide captions for videos with audio
AA: Medium level, includes A and AA (most used)
- 1.2.4 – Captions Live: Live videos have captions
- 1.2.5 – Audio Description (Pre-recorded): Users have access to audio description for video content
- 1.4.3 – Contrast (Minimum): Contrast ration between text and background is at least 4.5:1
AAA: Highest level, includes A, AA, and AAA (not always achievable)
- 1.2.6 – Sign Language (Pre-recorded): Provide sign language translations for videos
- 1.2.7 – Extended Audio Descriptions (Pre-recorded): Provide a text alternative to videos
- 1.2.8 – Media Alternative (Pre-recorded): Provide a test alternative to videos
For a full list of examples, visit: WCAG checklist. It’s also worth noting that creating a new website and making it compliant is relatively easy, however, keeping a site compliant when numerous people are making edits can be difficult.
Tools and examples
- Website Accessibility Checker – This tool scans HTML content for compliance and produces reports based on known problems, likely problems, and potential problems.
- Contrast Checker – This tool helps you choose colors for your site that are readable.
Website compliance is pretty complex and can even seem a little intimidating. There’s a number of things that WCAG 2.1 covers, so if you haven’t yet, visit the WCAG checklist for the full list. We hope the examples, tools, and information provided here gives you a better idea on how to make your website compliant.