What is WCAG?

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

W3C World Wide Web Consortium logoThe international web standards organization, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), put together a series of standards that would help site owners make their web sites more accessible for people with disabilities. The standards are referred to as WCAG (Web Content Accessibilities Guidelines).

WCAG Versions: 1.0 and 2.0

WCAG are a set of standards used to guide the development of web sites so that they are more accessible. The original set of standards, WCAG 1.0, were published in 1999. The W3C published a newer set of standards, WCAG 2.0, in December of 2008. The WC3 states that "the WCAG 2.0 applies broadly to more advanced technologies; is easier to use and understand; and is more precisely testable with automated testing and human evaluation." W3C They recommend using WCAG 2.0, instead of WCAG 1.0.

What is in WCAG 2.0?

The W3C states that "WCAG 2.0 has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA."

Conformance Requirements

In order for a Web page to conform to WCAG 2.0, all of the following conformance requirements must be satisfied:

Conformance Level: One of the following levels of conformance is met in full.

Level A: For Level A conformance (the minimum level of conformance), the Web page satisfies all the Level A Success Criteria, or a conforming alternate version is provided.

Level AA: For Level AA conformance, the Web page satisfies all the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria, or a Level AA conforming alternate version is provided.

Level AAA: For Level AAA conformance, the Web page satisfies all the Level A, Level AA and Level AAA Success Criteria, or a Level AAA conforming alternate version is provided.

Note 1: Although conformance can only be achieved at the stated levels, authors are encouraged to report (in their claim) any progress toward meeting success criteria from all levels beyond the achieved level of conformance.

Note 2: It is not recommended that Level AAA conformance be required as a general policy for entire sites because it is not possible to satisfy all Level AAA Success Criteria for some content.

Browse through the items in the Page-Element section to learn how to make all elements in your site accessible.