With more people spending more time on their phones, internet accessibility has become more critical than ever. People use the internet for everyday things like booking movies or flight tickets, applying for jobs, making hotel reservations, and entertainment. In this article, you will find the answer to the most frequently asked questions about WCAG 2.2.
So the World Wide Web Consortium developed a set of web content accessibility guidelines to ensure the internet was accessible to all users. WCAG 2.2 is an upgrade to WCAG 2.1, which is backward compatible with WCAG 2.0.
And while the final draft containing an additional nine new success criteria is still in progress, implementing them today improves your chances of success in various ways.
Not only does it increases your website or app accessibility, but it also proves that you are committed to accessibility. However, as the final version isn’t ready, and there are some updates to the latest versions, there are questions people ask about WCAG 2.2.
You, too, have questions about improving your web page content to make it accessible to people with speech, physical, cognitive, visual, and neurologically disabled people. So to help you clear your doubts, and create accessible web pages, here are 25 of the most frequently asked questions:
25 WCAG 2.2 Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.2?
The WCAG 2.2 gives a complete set of guidelines web designers and developers must adhere to while creating websites and applications. The guidelines help ensures people with handicaps like cognitive or learning disabilities can easily access web content and pages.
The guidelines include notes created by worldwide individuals and organizations in developing guidelines for accessible digital content. However, while they cover multiple aspects, they do not apply to all disabilities, combinations, and degrees.
2. When will WCAG 2.2 be released?
The recommendation was released in September 2022, and the web content accessibility guidelines working group expects to release the final draft on December 2022.
3. Why should organizations comply with WCAG 2.2 now?
Organizations should comply with WCAG 2.2 because access to digital content is mandatory in most countries worldwide. Failure to abide by the guidelines can lead businesses to miss out on a massive opportunity for market share.
They stand to lose as much as half a trillion in purchase power.
The need and demand were especially evident during COVID-19 when the disabled population started relying more on technology. With the increased pressure and need for web compliance, digital content which does not comply with the guidelines faces significant risk.
4. What is new in WCAG 2.2?
The WCAG 2.2 is forward compatible, built on previous versions with new success criteria. Adding the new success criteria ensures the successful implementation of all these criteria.
As the W3C added eight new criteria to levels A and AA, the update will be most valuable and essential to those targeting levels A and AA.
The WCAG 2.1 success criteria include guidelines about accessibility to people having limited fine motor skills, limited visual abilities, and cognitive disabilities. And that the books be available in downloadable format for laptops and mobile devices.
5. How many WCAG 2.0 success criteria are there?
There are currently 661 WCAG 2.0 success criteria, while there are 78 WCAG 2.1 success criteria. As WCAG 2.0 is a subset of WCAG 2.2, these guidelines also exist in WCAG 2.2.
6. Is WCAG 2.0 stable?
Yes, WCAG 2.0 standards are stable and referenceable standards that do not change. However, there will always be a chance for future updates and changes. So while the date of publishing WCAG 2.0 was December 11, 2008, the release of the final WCAG 2.1 draft was on June 5, 2018, and won’t change.
7. How will the revisions affect my current WCAG compliance?
WCAG 2.2 is backward compliant and built upon WCAG 2.1, inherited from WCAG 2.0. Any accessibility legislation that references WCAG 2.1 or 2.0 will also refer to 2.2.
So any website that conforms with WCAG 2.1 or 2.0 can easily update its content to WCAG 2.2 without making many changes to existing web conformance levels.
8. What is new in WCAG 2.2?
Backward compatible, WCAG 2.2 has nine new success criteria. And out of the nine, eight are at levels A and AA. So if your company targets level AA, you need to be aware of all these updates in WCAG 2.2:
1: 2.4.11 Focus Appearance (Minimum) (Level AA)
This guideline relates to the keyboard focus indicator that someone sees when on a web page. It stipulates that your website or app should have the minimum level of visibility, ensuring all users can see the keyboard focus indicator.
And to achieve this, all keyboard focus indicators of user interface components like menus and forms should have a clear border. Other content should not cover the user interface component, and the unfocused state and all adjacent colors should have a minimal 3.1 color contrast ratio.
2: 2.4.12 Focus Appearance (Enhanced) (Level AA)
This is an upgrade to the previous success criterion with additional specifications that ensure the keyboard focus indicator is visible. The main difference between the two success criteria is that the color contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1 between the unfocused state and adjacent colors.
3: 2.4.13 Page Break Navigation (Level A)
This success criterion will help users with visual impairments who use electronic publications. According to this guideline, all fixed reference points like page numbers in a physical publication should also be present in the digital or electronic publication.
This way, readers using assistive technologies to read passages can find the matching page in the electronic publication as physical book users.
4: 2.5.7 Dragging Movements (Level AA)
This success criterion increases accessibility for visitors who find performing on-screen dragging motions difficult. It is also helpful for users who use assistive technology like the eye-gaze system, which does not permit making dragging movements.
According to the guideline, web developers must provide users with an alternative system. So if someone has to drag to move around a map, the map should also have something like arrows to move within the map.
5: 2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) (Level AA)
Target size relates to display parts like ‘buy now buttons and links requiring pointer actions like using the mouse to click or making selections using the touchscreen. According to the success criterion, there should be a particular gap (at least 44×44 CSS pixels) between targets.
This is to ensure users can easily activate targets without worrying about accidentally activating adjacent targets.
6: 3.2.6 Consistent Help (Level A)
This criterion requires that a web page have multiple approaches users can use to get help on web pages. In other words, the FAQ and human contact details should be easy to find.
7: 3.2.7 Visible Controls (Level AA)
The W3C requires that all controls required to complete or progress a process be visible at all times. To complete the process, the user should not need to do things like a pointer hover over them or any keyboard focus interaction.
8: 3.3.7 Accessible Authentication (Level A)
With this guideline, all authentication processes requiring a cognitive function test should have an additional authentication procedure that isn’t a cognitive function test.
So if a user needs to provide a username to log into an account, the web developer has to provide an additional non-cognitive log-in method like a two-factor authentication method to log in.
9: 3.3.8 Redundant Entry (Level A)
This success criterion maintains that users need not recall or re-enter previously entered information like billing addresses in a multi-step process. Redundant actions like this can be challenging to users with cognitive or memory challenges.
The solution here lies in providing an option that conforms to details like the shipping and billing address are the same. Examples include an auto-fill option or providing the previously entered information as a selection.
The only exception is if the authentication process relies on security verification.
9. Will WCAG 2.2 be backward compatible with WCAG 2.1 and 2.0?
Yes, because WCAG 2.2 will only have nine new success criteria in addition to the existing success criteria in WCAG2.1 and WCAG 2.0.
10. Will WCAG 2.2 continue to use all three conformance levels?
WCAG 2.2 will continue using all three same A/AA/AAA conformance levels.
11. Is WCAG 2.2 ready for the general public to use?
No. The W3C is still reviewing and editing the WCAG 2.2. This implies that there is always the possibility of the new proposed requirements changing with time. So it is not ideal for the general public to start making changes based on a standard that is not final yet.
12. Can accessibility adventurers explore WCAG 2.2?
Yes! Nothing stops accessibility enthusiasts from learning more about the newly proposed success criteria for WCAG 2.2. By doing this, you get a head start identifying all the new requirements for your digital content.
However, remember the W3C may change these requirements in the future before the release of the final version.
13. When will WCAG 2.2 become a legal requirement?
WCAG isn’t final yet, and will not be for another few months. So no country will make it a legal requirement till the release of the last version.
While some countries may consider adopting WCAG 2.2 when it becomes a final official recommendation, some may require a few years to adopt the latest WCAG version.
14. How many are more stages left before WCAG 2.2 becomes final?
There are two more stages to be met after the Candidate recommendation and to finalize WCAG 2.2.
15. What are the WCAG 2.2 Conformance Levels?
The WCAG 2.2 conformance levels are the same three conformance levels as the previous WCAG versions. And they are:
- Level A is the easiest to achieve as it is the lowest level of conformance, and it addresses most basic access issues and makes websites broadly accessible to everyone.
- Level AA is the expected standard for legislation like Section 508 and the Accessibility for Ontarians Act (AODA).
- Level AAA is the most difficult to achieve as it is the highest level of conformance, and that is why it is more commonly used only as a recommendation and not as a requirement. Most websites will not have the required resources to meet this level.
16. Who do WCAG 2.2 success criteria support?
The new success criteria provide for improved digital accessibility. And by doing so, the website or mobile application will be accessible to many people suffering from various disabilities.
This includes providing accommodations for users with conditions like:
- Low vision, color blindness, or blindness
- Deafness or hearing loss
- Speech disabilities
- Speech disabilities
- Learning disabilities and cognitive limitations like cognitive limited fine motor skills.
17. How many WCAG 2.0 success criteria are there?
There are a total of 61 WCAG 2.0 success criteria.
18. What are the four principles of web accessibility?
The acronym POUR defines the four main principles of web accessibility. They stand for perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust and make achieving web accessibility easier by dividing it into these four leading principles.
19. When will WCAG 2.2 be completed and published?
The WCAG 2.2 should be completed and published by December 2022. The existing WCAG 2.2 W3C Candidate Recommendation Snapshot was approved for publication in September 2022.
20. What is the minimum WCAG level?
The minimum or lowest WCAG level is Level A.
21. Does WCAG apply to desktop applications?
Yes, according to Section 508, WCAG applies to all ICT. This includes all software, documents, and mobile apps.
22. What are the three types of accessibility?
The three types of accessibility issues are:
- Visual impairments like color blindness or low vision
- Motor or mobility issues like wheelchair-user concerns
- Auditory problems like hearing difficulties
23. What is the purpose of WCAG?
The WCAG is a set of documents explaining how web developers and designers can make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.
24. What is robust WCAG?
According to WCAG, robustness relates to any web content compatible with numerous ‘user agents. This includes accessible web browsers, assistive technologies, and all the other means used to access the content.
25. When will WCAG 3.0 be released?
The W3C is simultaneously working with WCAG 2.2 towards significantly restructuring the accessibility guidelines. These new guidelines will be WCAG 3.0, which will be entirely different, unlike the previous backward-compatible versions.
However, while keeping track of these changes is essential for web owners, do not start building WCAG 3.0 into your accessibility program until its official release.
Digital accessibility is a continual process
The fact that WCAG 2.2 is still in the developmental phase, with the chances of even more changes, proves that digital accessibility is not a one-time fix. It is a continual process because the laws will keep changing to comply with the latest users’ needs.
And accordingly, all the WCAG success criteria will start evolving, which all website owners and developers must keep abreast with.
However, the good news is that this is where we at ADA Site Compliance can help.
We will provide continual support to ensure your website or mobile app conforms with the latest and required web accessibility guidelines. Our team of accessibility experts will work to get your digital content in shape to reach a wider audience.
Have a question?
We’re always here to help.
The ADA prohibits any private businesses that provide goods or services to the public, referred to as “public accommodations,” from discriminating against those with disabilities. Federal courts have ruled that the ADA includes websites in the definition of public accommodation. As such, websites must offer auxiliary aids and services to low-vision, hearing-impaired, and physically disabled persons, in the same way a business facility must offer wheelchair ramps, braille signage, and sign language interpreters, among other forms of assistance.
All websites must be properly coded for use by electronic screen readers that read aloud to sight-impaired users the visual elements of a webpage. Additionally, all live and pre-recorded audio content must have synchronous captioning for hearing-impaired users.
Websites must accommodate hundreds of keyboard combinations, such as Ctrl + P to print, that people with disabilities depend on to navigate the Internet.
Litigation continues to increase substantially. All business and governmental entities are potential targets for lawsuits and demand letters. Recent actions by the Department of Justice targeting businesses with inaccessible websites will likely create a dramatic increase of litigation risk.
Big box retailer Target Corp. was ordered to pay $6 million – plus $3.7 million more in legal costs – to settle a landmark class action suit brought by the National Federation of the Blind. Other recent defendants in these cases have included McDonald’s, Carnival Cruise Lines, Netflix, Harvard University, Foot Locker, and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Along with these large companies, thousands of small businesses have been subject to ADA website litigation.
Defendants in ADA lawsuits typically pay plaintiff's legal fees, their own legal fees for defending the litigation, and potential additional costs. In all, the average cost can range from tens of thousands of dollars, to above six figures. There are also high intangible costs, such as added stress, time and human capital, as well as reputational damage. Furthermore, if the remediation is incomplete, copycat suits and serial filers can follow, meaning double or triple the outlay. It's vital to implement a long-term strategy for ensuring your website is accessible and legally compliant.