September 6, 2023

Understanding WCAG 2.2 Website Accessibility Standards

Navigating the new website accessibility standards

Web Design + Development

In today's digital world, it's crucial for websites to be accessible to everyone. Website accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can use the web as easily as anyone else. At Social Driver, we specialize in helping organizations achieve their goals through digital tools and strategies, focusing on websites and social media. We assist clients in building and enhancing their online presence, reaching their target audiences, and driving growth and success. 

To ensure accessibility, we work with different standards at Social Driver, including those set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). W3C is an international collective that develops general web standards, and WAI consists of stakeholders and working groups specifically dedicated to web accessibility. These organizations have produced guidelines and technical specifications to help anyone create more accessible websites, applications, and content. The most widely used document is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

WCAG is a set of stable, referenceable technical standards that explain how to make web content more accessible. It is organized around four principles of accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. These principles state that if the content is not perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, users with disabilities cannot use the web. Each guideline within WCAG has technology-neutral and testable success criteria, along with recommendations on how to meet them.

Currently, there are three versions of WCAG: 2.0, 2.1, and as of August 2023, 2.2. Version 2.1 includes 17 additional success criteria addressing mobile accessibility, low vision, and cognitive or developmental disabilities. While Version 2.2 includes yet and additional 9 criteria. From Version 2.1. While both versions are acceptable, it is encouraged to use the latest version. The recommendation is to aim for WCAG 2.1 AA conformance, which means meeting all the criteria at the AA level. If there are specific standards that cannot be met, you should be providing and adequate explanation as to why you do not meet the standard or an alternative way to work around the issue.

To document your website's conformance to accessibility standards, you can use a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). This template outlines how your technology aligns with revised Section 508 requirements, European Union accessibility requirements, or WCAG 2.1. VPATs are commonly produced by government contractors during the procurement process, but anyone can use them to formally document their product's compliance.

Apart from moral and social reasons, there are legal requirements related to accessibility. While Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 specifically applies to federal agencies, other laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) require businesses to provide equal access to goods and services. Ensuring website accessibility is not just about legal compliance, but it also creates a more inclusive and diverse digital landscape, benefiting people with disabilities and improving the user experience for all.

At Social Driver, we believe that web accessibility is essential. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping our clients create accessible websites and digital experiences that benefit all users. We understand the importance of compliance and creating an inclusive online experience, and we are here to assist you in navigating the ever-evolving world of digital marketing while prioritizing accessibility.