WCAG 2.0 and Your Association’s Website

What is WCAG 2.0?

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG consists of 12 guidelines. These 12 items are categorized under 4 principles (perceivable, robust, operable, and understandable), which together consist of 61 testable items. Each of these 61 tests has a priority level assigned. The three priority levels are A (must support), AA (should support), and AAA (nice to support). Each level corresponds to the importance of the testable item. As you complete each group of tests you will be considered at that level of compliance. The commonly supported level is WCAG 2.0 AA. This means the site owners web content or site is coded in a way that follows all of WCAG 2.0 A and AA guidelines, but does not necessarily follow any or all of the AAA guidelines.

[WCAG 2.0] Principles

Perceivable

Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

  • Guideline 1.1: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  • Guideline 1.2: Time-based media: Provide alternatives for time-based media.
  • Guideline 1.3: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • Guideline 1.4: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.

Operable

User interface components and navigation must be operable.

  • Guideline 2.1: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Guideline 2.2: Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  • Guideline 2.3: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  • Guideline 2.4: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.

Understandable

Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.

  • Guideline 3.1: Make text content readable and understandable.
  • Guideline 3.2: Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Guideline 3.3: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Robust

Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

  • Guideline 4.1.: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies. [Source]

To learn more about the high level guidelines and what guidelines need to be follow to meet a certain level head to this link.

Who is affected by WCAG?

Anyone whose disability limits their access to online content. These could be things like limited vision or a lack of fine motor dexterity. As content creators we have a moral responsibility to ensure the highest level of access to what we create as possible.

Why is WCAG important to your association?

In the past several years’ associations like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and Harvard have faced litigation due to a lack of accessible content for their members, students and site visitors. These legal actions can easily cost 10x the expense of providing your content in an accessible way to begin with. This doesn’t even take into account the ethical and commercial reasons to make sure your content is more accessible. By complying with WCAG you are ensuring that your content, donation options, and shopping carts are accessible to individuals with disabilities, which are often forgotten during the design and development process of content and website creation.

Is your association’s content accessible? Lets talk to see if LMO can help.

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Stevan Fickus

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