Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 by the World Wide Web Consortium
- Natural information such as text, images, and sounds.
- Code or markup that defines a structure, presentation, etc.
Components and user agents that participate in accessible content
- Content – the information being presented in a Web page or Web application, including:
- natural information such as text, images, video, and sounds.
- code or markup that defines structure, presentation, etc.
- Devices such as Web browsers, media players, and other “user agents”
- Assistive technology such as screen readers, alternative keyboards, scanning software, etc.
- Users’ knowledge, experiences, and in some cases, adaptive strategies using the Web
- Developers – designers, coders, authors, etc., including developers with disabilities and users who contribute content
- Authoring tools (software that creates websites)
- Evaluation tools – Web accessibility evaluation tools, HTML validators, CSS validators, etc.
Each component is related, and they don’t exist in isolation from one other. When accessibility features are effectively implemented with one component, other components are more likely to implement and adapted. Eventually, a website will experience a cascading wave of accessibility affordances, making it more easy to gain conformance.
For instance, when developers want to implement an accessibility feature such as adding alt text to image content, they are more likely to select or demand an authoring tool that enables ease of alt text implementation.
4 core principles for building and maintaining content
- Content is Perceivable. Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive (it can’t be invisible to all of their senses).
Example: Employing alt attributes on img elements meaning, alternative text can describe what is being presented in the image.
- Content is Operable. User interface components and navigation must be operable (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform).
Example: Providing heading elements (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to indicate the start of main content areas.
- Content is Understandable. Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).
Example: Specifying the default language of the website or document by providing the “lang” attribute on the HTML element.
- Content is Robust. Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible).
Example: Maximizing compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
Conformance rating to measure & demonstrate success
How to reach conformance
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, AA, which addresses Web content.
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) apply to authoring tools such as development platforms (e.g., WordPress). And User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UUAG) address “User Agents” such as Web browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox).
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