Are you staying on top of your digital accessibility game? Don’t be caught by surprise that a new version of W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is on the horizon. In fact, The next “minor” version of WCAG is a proposed recommendation right now! The W3C has researched user needs and written WCAG 2.1 success criteria to fill known gaps. There is also a parallel effort in motion to create a major revision of digital accessibility guidelines.
History of WCAG
Before we look into the future, let’s understand the past. May 5, 1999 the first international standard for digital accessibility (WCAG 1.0) was published by the W3C. It was technology specific focusing on html. December 11, 2008, WCAG 2.0was published. WCAG 2.0 is more compatible with current and future technologies because it broadens focus beyond html and includes learnings from more than a decade of experience in accessibility. WCAG 2.0 introduced four guiding principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. Countries around the world (including Australia, Canada, the European Union, India, the United States and more) have adopted WCAG 2.0 as their legal digital accessibility standard. By October 2012, the International Standards Organization (ISO) even established WCAG 2.0 as the digital standard for accessibility. ISO/IEC 40500:2012
Despite being almost a decade old, WCAG 2.0 continues to be a viable standard for digital accessibility. However, in internet years, 2008 is ancient. So it should come as no surprise that known gaps exist in WCAG 2.0 and need to be filled. Parallel efforts are underway to address the evolving needs of digital accessibility.
What is WCAG 2.1?
If you are already familiar with WCAG 2.0, you probably have a number of questions. And we’ve got answers!
- Will WCAG 2.1 be backward compatible with WCAG 2.0? Yes! WCAG 2.0 will still be a valid and very useful standard. WCAG 2.1 will work in concert with WCAG 2.0.
- Will WCAG 2.1 continue to use the WCAG 2.0 the A, AA, and AAA conformance levels? Yes. WCAG 2.1 will use the same A/AA/AAA conformance levels.
- What are the main areas of focus for WCAG 2.1? The three biggest gaps in WCAG 2.0 are related to:
- mobile technology – mobile phones were not very smart back in 2008, and this platform evolves rapidly. It is no surprise that there are accessibility needs related to mobile that must be addressed. The Mobile Accessibility Task Force (MATF) was created to address accessibility challenges for mobile.
- low vision – accessibility requirements for people with low vision have been well documented for years. The time has come to remove barriers for the estimated 246 million people worldwide who have low vision. The Low Vision Task Force (LVTF) was created to address accessibility issues specific to low vision.
- cognitive disabilities – the area that I think will have the most innovation and profound impact on universal design is cognitive. As we find solutions to the challenges documented in Cognitive Accessibility User Research and the Cognitive Accessibility Roadmap and Gap Analysis I predict we will discover that we have improved the web for everyone. The Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force (COGA) was created to address accessibility issues specific to cognitive disabilities.
Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: WCAG 2.1: What is Next for Accessibility Guidelines | Deque