The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet. They are a set of recommendations for making Web content more accessible, primarily for people with disabilities—but also for all user agents, including highly limited devices, such as mobile phones. WCAG 2.0, was published in December 2008 and became an ISO standard, ISO/IEC 40500:2012 in October 2012. WCAG 2.1 became a W3C Recommendation in June 2018.
The first web accessibility guideline was compiled by Gregg Vanderheiden and released in January 1995, just after the 1994 Second International Conference on the World-Wide Web (WWW II) in Chicago (where Tim Berners-Lee first mentioned disability access in a keynote speech after seeing a pre-conference workshop on accessibility led by Mike Paciello).
Over 38 different Web access guidelines followed from various authors and organizations over the next few years. These were brought together in the Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines compiled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Version 8 of the Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines, published in 1998, served as the starting point for the W3C's WCAG 1.0.
The WCAG 1.0 was published and became a W3C recommendation on 5 May 1999. They have since been superseded by WCAG 2.0.
WCAG 1.0 consist of 14 guidelines—each of which describes a general principle of accessible design. Each guideline covers a basic theme of web accessibility and is associated with one or more checkpoints that describes how to apply that guideline to particular webpage features.
Each of the in total 65 WCAG 1.0 checkpoints has an assigned priority level based on the checkpoint's impact on accessibility:
In February 2008, The WCAG Samurai, a group of developers independent of the W3C, and led by Joe Clark, published corrections for, and extensions to, the WCAG 1.0.
WCAG 2.0 was published as a W3C Recommendation on 11 December 2008. It consists of twelve guidelines (untestable) organized under four principles (websites must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust). Each guideline has testable success criteria (61 in all). The W3C's Techniques for WCAG 2.0 is a list of techniques that help authors meet the guidelines and success criteria. The techniques are periodically updated whereas the principles, guidelines and success criteria are stable and do not change.
Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
User interface components and navigation must be operable.
Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
WCAG 2.0 uses the same three levels of conformance (A, AA, AAA) as WCAG 1.0, but has redefined them. The WCAG working group maintains an extensive list of web accessibility techniques and common failure cases for WCAG 2.0.
The first concept proposal of WCAG 2.0 was published on 25 January 2001. In the following years new versions were published intended to solicit feedback from accessibility experts and members of the disability community. On 27 April 2006 a "Last Call Working Draft" was published. Due to the many amendments that were necessary, WCAG 2.0 was published again as a concept proposal on 17 May 2007, followed by a second "Last Call Working Draft" on 11 December 2007. In April 2008 the guidelines became a "Candidate Recommendation". On 3 November 2008 the guidelines became a "Proposed Recommendation". WCAG 2.0 was published as a W3C Recommendation on 11 December 2008.
A comparison of WCAG 1.0 checkpoints and WCAG 2.0 success criteria is available.
In early 2014, WCAG 2.0's Level A and Level AA success criteria were incorporated as references in clause 9.2 ("Web content requirements") of the European standard EN 301 549 published by ETSI. EN 301 549 was produced in response to a mandate that the European Commission gave to the three official European standardisation bodies (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and is the first European standard for ICT products and services.
...initiated with the goal to improve accessibility guidance for three major groups: users with cognitive or learning disabilities, users with low vision, and users with disabilities on mobile devices
and is backwards-compatible with WCAG 2.0, which it extends with a further 17 success criteria.
Businesses that have an online presence should provide accessibility to disabled users. Not only are there ethical and commercial justifications for implementing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, in some countries and jurisdictions, there are also legal reasons. Under UK law, if a business's website is not accessible, then the website owner could be sued for discrimination.
In January 2017, the U.S. Access Board approved a final rule to update Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The new rule adopts seventeen WCAG 2.0 success criteria, but 22 of the 38 existing A-level and AA-level criteria were already covered by existing Section 508 guidelines. The rule requires adherence to the new standards twelve months from its date of publication in the federal register.  
In 2017, a Federal Court in Florida identified the WCAG guidelines as the "industry standard" for website accessibility and found that Winn Dixie Store, Inc., violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to render its website accessible to the sight impaired.
In October 2016, the European Parliament approved the directive 2016/2102 that requires websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies to conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. New websites must comply from 23 September 2019 on, old websites from 23 September 2020 on and mobile applications from 23 June 2021 on.
In January 2012, the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) in the United Kingdom issued a press release stating that it had served legal proceedings against low-cost airline Bmibaby over their "failure to ensure web access for blind and partially sighted customers". As of October 2011, at least two actions against websites had been initiated by the RNIB, and settled without the cases being heard by a court.
The 2010/2012 Jodhan decision caused the Canadian federal government to require all online web pages, documents and videos available externally and internally to meet the accessibility requirements of WCAG 2.0.
The Israeli Ministry of Justice published regulations in early 2014, requiring Internet websites to comply with Israeli Standard 5568, which is based on the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
The main differences between the Israeli standard and the W3C standard concern the requirements to provide captions and texts for audio and video media. The Israeli standards are somewhat more lenient, reflecting the current technical difficulties in providing such captions and texts in Hebrew.
AnySurfer is a Belgian organisation that promotes the accessibility of websites, apps, and digital documents for disabled individuals. It is also the name of a quality label which websites can obtain if they are fully accessible. AnySurfer is a national project run by Blindenzorg Licht en Liefde, a Belgian non-profit organisation that provides aid to the blind and the visually impaired.The checklist AnySurfer uses when allocating the AnySurfer label is based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).Blink element
The blink element is a non-standard HTML element that indicates to a user agent (generally a web browser) that the page author intends the content of the element to blink (that is, alternate between being visible and invisible). The element was introduced in Netscape Navigator but is no longer supported and often ignored by modern Web browsers; some, such as Internet Explorer, never supported the element at all.Despite its initial popularity among home users in the 1990s, it has since fallen out of favor due to its overuse and the difficulty it presents in reading. Lou Montulli, often credited as the inventor of the blink element, has said that he considers "the blink tag to be the worst thing I've ever done for the Internet", although he claims he only suggested the idea, without writing any actual code.
... At some point in the evening I mentioned that it was sad that Lynx was not going to be able to display many of the HTML extensions that we were proposing, I also pointed out that the only text style that Lynx could exploit given its environment was blinking text. We had a pretty good laugh at the thought of blinking text, and talked about blinking this and that and how absurd the whole thing would be. ... Saturday morning rolled around and I headed into the office only to find what else but, blinking text. It was on the screen blinking in all its glory, and in the browser. How could this be, you might ask? It turns out that one of the engineers liked my idea so much that he left the bar sometime past midnight, returned to the office and implemented the blink tag overnight. He was still there in the morning and quite proud of it.Deque Systems
Deque Systems ( DEE-kew) is a digital accessibility company based in Herndon, Virginia with additional offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Secunderabad, India. The company was started in 1999 and produces accessibility software in addition to offering accessibility consulting services.
The CEO of Deque Systems is Preety Kumar.HTML-Kit
HTML-Kit is a proprietary HTML editor for Microsoft Windows made by chami.com.
The application is a full-featured HTML editor designed to edit, format, validate, preview and publish web pages in HTML, XHTML and XML -languages.
HTML-Kit is freeware, although extra features are available at a cost to registered users.
An Alpha version, HTML-Kit Tools (previously named build 300), is in development and is currently only available for download by registered users. Build 292, the current stable build is available for download as freeware.IBM Home Page Reader
Home Page Reader (Hpr) was a computer program, a self-voicing web browser designed for people who are blind. It was developed by IBM from the work of Chieko Asakawa at IBM Japan.
The screen reader met World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML 4.01 specifications, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.In 2006, it was announced on the Hpr mailing list that IBM does not have plans for any further updates of HPR and the software was subsequently withdrawn from sale by IBM in December 2006. IBM has given code to be used as a Firefox extension.The program also had a peer-support mailing list.Lisa Seeman
Lisa Seeman is an inventor and an entrepreneur and has been instrumental in creating standards for interoperability and accessibility.
She currently works for Athena ICT.Meta refresh
Meta refresh is a method of instructing a web browser to automatically refresh the current web page or frame after a given time interval, using an HTML meta element with the http-equiv parameter set to "refresh" and a content parameter giving the time interval in seconds. It is also possible to instruct the browser to fetch a different URL when the page is refreshed, by including the alternative URL in the content parameter. By setting the refresh time interval to zero (or a very low value), meta refresh can be used as a method of URL redirection.Mystery meat navigation
Mystery meat navigation (also known as MMN) is a disparaging term coined in 1998 by Vincent Flanders, author and designer of the website Web Pages That Suck, to describe a web page where the destination of the link is not visible until the user points their cursor at it. Such interfaces lack a user-centered design, emphasizing aesthetic appearance, white space, and the concealment of relevant information over basic practicality and functionality.The epithet "mystery meat" refers to the meat products often served in American public school cafeterias whose forms have been so thoroughly reprocessed that their exact types can no longer be identified by their appearances: like them, the methods of MMN are clear to the producer but baffling to the consumer.
Flanders originally and temporarily described the phenomenon as Saturnic navigation in reference to the Saturn Corporation, whose company website epitomized this phenomenon. Flanders writes, "The typical form of MMN is represented by menus composed of unrevealing icons that are replaced with explicative text only when the mouse cursor hovers over them".PAS 78
PAS 78: Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites is a Publicly Available Specification published on March 8, 2006 by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in collaboration with the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). It provides guidance to organisations in how to go about commissioning an accessible website from a design agency. It describes what is expected from websites to comply with the UK Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), making websites accessible to and usable by disabled peopleSortSite
SortSite is a web crawler that scans entire websites for quality issues including: accessibility; browser compatibility; broken links; legal compliance; search optimization; usability and web standards compliance.Tableless web design
Tableless web design (or tableless web layout) is a web design method eschewing the use of HTML tables for page layout control purposes. Instead of HTML tables, style sheet languages such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to arrange elements and text on a web page.URL redirection
URL redirection, also called URL forwarding, is a World Wide Web technique for making a web page available under more than one URL address. When a web browser attempts to open a URL that has been redirected, a page with a different URL is opened. Similarly, domain redirection or domain forwarding is when all pages in a URL domain are redirected to a different domain, as when wikipedia.com and wikipedia.net are automatically redirected to wikipedia.org. URL redirection is done for various reasons: for URL shortening; to prevent broken links when web pages are moved; to allow multiple domain names belonging to the same owner to refer to a single web site; to guide navigation into and out of a website; for privacy protection; and for hostile purposes such as phishing attacks or malware distribution.US State Laws and Policies for ICT Accessibility
Many individual states within the US have accessibility policies for Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These policies often include references to national or international standards. They provide websites and software authors with technical details to ensure that users with disabilities can access the information and that adequate functionality is assured. The most commonly referenced standards are Section 508 and the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The table below provides information for all fifty states and indicates whether policies are in place for websites and software. It also indicates what standards the web policies are based on and provides links to the policies.WebAIM
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) is a non-profit organization based at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. WebAIM has provided web accessibility solutions since 1999. WebAIM's mission is to expand the potential of the web for people with disabilities by providing the knowledge, technical skills, tools, organizational leadership strategies, and vision that empower organizations to make their own content accessible to people with disabilities.Web Accessibility Initiative
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an effort to improve the accessibility of the World Wide Web (WWW or Web) for people with disabilities. People with disabilities may encounter difficulties when using computers generally, but also on the Web. Since people with disabilities often require non-standard devices and browsers, making websites more accessible also benefits a wide range of user agents and devices, including mobile devices, which have limited resources.
The W3C launched the Web Accessibility Initiative in 1997 with endorsement by The White House and W3C members. It has several working groups and interest groups that work on guidelines, technical reports, educational materials and other documents that relate to the several different components of web accessibility. These components include web content, web browsers and media players, authoring tools, and evaluation tools.Web accessibility
Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites on the World Wide Web by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, generally all users have equal access to information and functionality.
For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. When text and images are large and/or enlargeable, it is easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content. When links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as colored, this ensures that color blind users will be able to notice them. When clickable links and areas are large, this helps users who cannot control a mouse with precision. When pages are not coded in a way that hinders navigation by means of the keyboard alone, or a single switch access device alone, this helps users who cannot use a mouse or even a standard keyboard. When videos are closed captioned or a sign language version is available, deaf and hard-of-hearing users can understand the video. When flashing effects are avoided or made optional, users prone to seizures caused by these effects are not put at risk. And when content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations, users with dyslexia and learning difficulties are better able to understand the content. When sites are correctly built and maintained, all of these users can be accommodated without decreasing the usability of the site for non-disabled users.
The needs that Web accessibility aims to address include:
Visual: Visual impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness;
Motor/mobility: e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc., due to conditions such as Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke;
Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing;
Seizures: Photo epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.
Cognitive and intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.), and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental "maturity", problem-solving and logic skills, etc.Web standards
Web standards are the formal, non-proprietary standards and other technical specifications that define and describe aspects of the World Wide Web. In recent years, the term has been more frequently associated with the trend of endorsing a set of standardized best practices for building web sites, and a philosophy of web design and development that includes those methods.Will Creedle
Will Creedle (born April 16, 1973 in Rochester, Minnesota) is an American Software Quality Assurance Engineer and advocate for extending the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to all title III websites. He is known for suggesting that conformance is crucial to good design because it brings context to content and accurately re-prioritizes the visual to reflect the content as opposed to the site serving the visuals. He has advocated that the time is now for companies to commit to web compliance, ahead of the DOJ regulations coming in 2018, as the DOJ has provided what their compliance standards will be for TITLE III companies: WCAG 2.0 Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Creedle spent 7 years working in Manhattan at R/GA, where he conceived the idea of the world's first tweeting e-cigarette as well as worked on several Clio, AD&D and Cannes Cyber Lion winning projects.ZAC Browser
ZAC Browser (Zone for Autistic Children) is a discontinued web browser designed specifically for children and teenagers with autism and autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) and PDD-NOS.Because autistic children display characteristics such as impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior, the standard browser experience can often be overwhelming. The ZAC browser reduces the number of user interface controls and removes access to much of the Web in order to simplify the experience for autistic children.
ZAC was available as a free download for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7.
ISO standards by standard number