Web Content Accessibility

Analysing the new WCAG web accessibility guidelines, what’s changed and how could it effect your site?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are due to be updated in August, bringing with them six key new web standards, which websites claiming to be accessible will need to adhere to. 

What is the WCAG?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a framework of international web standards which aim to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. These standards cover web content from text, images and sounds to the code or markup that forms the structure of your website. These standards are set in three tiers; A, AA and AAA (the most extensive). At Out of Place accessibility is an integral part of every project. We aim to meet AA WCAG as standard on all our web builds.

What’s new in 2.2

Keyboard focus

People who can’t use a mouse need to be able to navigate your website using keyboard focus. To ensure a smooth user experience, the new WCAG recommends keyboard focusable elements should not be obscured by content such as pop-ups or banners. Additionally, to be AA compliant, the keyboard focus indicator should be a sufficient size and colour contrast. 

Dragging 

To ensure that users with dexterity issues can explore your website, any action that involves dragging must now provide a simple pointer alternative. This may mean elements such as image carousels need to include arrows for navigation, or  maps have up/down/left/right buttons to move the view in addition to drag. 

Target size and spacing

Although target size has been a requirement of AAA for many years, this has now been brought down as a AA requirement, and some guidance around spacing has been introduced. Generally targets on your website are links or buttons. Moving forward these elements will need to be a minimum of 24px x 24px and must have ‘sufficient’ spacing so users with mobility issues can easily interact with the correct target.

Consistent Help

To aid users with cognitive disabilities, all ‘help’ on your website needs to remain in a consistent place. Help includes elements such as the search bar, FAQs, contact details and chat options. 

Redundant Entry
Whilst redundant entry has been best practice for a while from a user experience perspective, the new guidance requires that websites don’t ask for the same information twice in the same session. This will mostly affect forms, where websites will need to utilise auto-populated fields for previously entered data. It is worth noting that the autocomplete feature of browsers is not considered sufficient in this regard. 

Accessible Authentication 

Authentication methods are an important tool for keeping your website secure and avoiding spam. However, some methods can be difficult for people with cognitive disabilities. For instance, some people cannot solve puzzles, memorise a username and password, or retype one-time passcodes. To meet WCAG 2.2, authentication should not require users to go to a third-party device, and copy and paste should be available for all authentication fields. CAPTCHA and other methods which use object recognition tests are exempt from this requirement.

How we can help

Being AA WCAG compliant is our baseline for all digital projects. For new projects we will guide you through key accessibility features that are interwoven with the design and build of your website. For pre-existing websites we offer accessibility audits and implementation to bring you up to any of the desired three WCAG tiers. If you want to know how the new guidance will affect your website, please get in touch with us at info@outofplace.studio. 

Why accessibility is important

People with disabilities account for up to 20% of web users. One fifth of your potential audience or customers could find themselves unable to interact with your website successfully due to poor implementation of accessibility features. Meeting the WCAG is the first step in creating an inclusive product that functions for everybody. 

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