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A Brief Overview of WCAG 2.1

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 are a series of guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for making web content more accessible on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

Following these guidelines helps ensure content is more accessible to a wide range of people with disabilities, such as blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, and photosensitivity. The guidelines often improve usability for general users as well.

There are a lot of guidelines and they can be hard to understand for those of us who aren’t developers (such as myself) but here are a few of the basics –

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content (photos, videos, etc.)
  • Ensure that there is enough difference between background and text color
  • Provide user controls for pausing, stopping, or hiding content
  • Use clear page titles, headings, and labels
  • Provide captions for videos with audio
  • Keyboard accessibility for users without a mouse


It’s important to note that there are multiple levels of conformance to the guidelines.

  • Level A – basic web accessibility features
  • Level AA – deals with the most common barriers for disabled users
  • Level AAA – the highest (and most complex) level of web accessibility

     

Of course, level AAA is ideal. However, some of the highest level guidelines can’t be applied to all websites and therefore level AA is the next best target.

Here at VIA Studio, we have a set of tools and checklists that we use for every web project to ensure that these guidelines are met and that the websites we build are as accessible as possible. It’s important to us that users with disabilities have equal access and equal opportunity while accessing the web.

To see a full list of WCAG 2.1, check out https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/

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