The Good Points of WCAG2

Yes we all understand about Accessibility.   Yes we all know that it’s as important as web standards.

But have we taken the time to look over the WCAG2 guidelines and all the supplementary information that is available on that site in detail.

This is especially relevant at the moment for State and Federal Government agencies with the implementation of the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS) in full swing.

I know the W3C site itself can be a little overwhelming in the depth of information, and for the busy web professional what is  really needed is just the core information you need to get the job done.

WCAG 2  Guidelines – these are the current guidelines outlining the Principles, Guidelines and Success Criteria. Yes they can be a little dry.  The best bit really is the next section – “How to Meet WCAG2”.

How to Meet WCAG2 – this would have to be the best section of WCAG2, it allows you to see examples of success and failure for the Success Criteria.  While it also cross-links to specifics on the understanding and techniques of the respective Guidelines or Success Criteria.

Understanding Conformance – this section looks at the 5 conformance requirements.  Yes you have to meet all 5 requirements to be in compliance.  Allowance is made in this section for new “bleeding edge” technology adoption that may not be within existing technology WCAG2 compliance.

Understanding WCAG2  –  this section simply lists the Success Criteria in detail; it’s great for getting your head around the intent of the Success Criteria and lists various examples.  Very handy when you are stuck with an edge case that may not be simply covered off by WCAG2.

Techniques and Failures for WCAG2 –  another in detail list that is great for developers.  It lists the specific authoring practices that you can use to meet the Success Criteria.  Both failure and success examples are given in detail.  Worth a look when you are stuck.

But it’s not just about WCAG.

There are a number of other documents and initiatives that the W3C host that have impacts on accessibility that you really need to be aware of.

WAI-ARIA –  Yeah I do go on about this one; but it’s going to be the future glue between the function layer (JavaScript) on the device and the desktop or operating system.   In the longer term WAI-ARIA techniques  are going to make it easier for accessibility development.

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines   – If you have a content management system that produces code, then you really need to go have a look at the version 2 draft of these guideliens.  Along with the pervious version, it looks in detail at ways to integrate accessibility compliance into your CMS.

Most Importantly.

The most important factor to consider with WCAG2 is not really the guidelines or the success criteria, but why you are doing it in the first place.  We have to remember that this is all about making the functionality and information usable by everyone, disability or not.

The key factor with accessibility is people.