The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are the global standard for digital accessibility. The latest version of these guidelines, WCAG 2.2, was published on 5 October 2023. WCAG updates are backwards-compatible, so content that conforms to WCAG 2.2 also conforms to WCAG 2.1 and WCAG 2.0.
WCAG 2.2 includes nine new success criteria, six of which are at level A and AA. One success criteria (4.1.1 Parsing) has been removed.
Level A changes
3.2.6 – Consistent Help
If you make support options available, e.g. a contact us link or chat button, you should keep them in the same place on every page. This helps people find support more easily. Find out more about 3.2.6 – Consistent Help (w3.org)
3.3.7 – Redundant Entry
When completing a process, e.g. registering or completing a form, information that the user has already entered must be made available to them, either auto-populated or with the option to select rather than re-entering (with some exceptions). This helps people who have difficulty remembering what they previously entered. Find out more about 3.3.7 – Redundant Entry (w3.org)
Level AA changes
2.4.11 – Focus Not Obscured (Minimum)
When an element receives keyboard focus, part of the focus indicator must remain visible and not be hidden by other content. At level AA, you will not fail if something overlaps slightly, so long as you can still see what has focus. This helps people who cannot use a mouse to see what has keyboard focus. Find out more about 2.4.11 – Focus Not Obscured (w3.org)
2.5.7 – Dragging Movements
If any part of your website requires a dragging movement, e.g. moving a map or file, you need to provide an alternative means of dragging, such as tapping, clicking or keyboard shortcuts. This helps people who cannot use a mouse to move items. Find out more about 2.5.7 – Dragging Movements (w3.org)
2.5.8 – Target Size (Minimum)
All clickable elements should be at least 24×24 pixels in size and there must be sufficient space between targets. However, if the clickable element is a link in a paragraph of text, it’s okay for it to be smaller. This helps people who cannot click small buttons that are close together. Find out more about 2.5.8 – Target Size (w3.org)
3.3.8 – Accessible Authentication (Minimum)
If your website requires a cognitive function test, such as memorising a username and password in order to log in, you must provide an alternative way to authenticate or a help mechanism such as allowing entry via a password manager. At level AA, a cognitive function test that requires the recognition of an object, e.g. select all images of a car, is allowed. This helps people with cognitive difficulties. Find out more about 3.3.8 – Accessible Authentication (w3.org)
Level AAA changes
2.4.12 – Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced)
When an element receives keyboard focus, it must be fully visible. None of the focus indicator can be hidden by other content. This helps people who can’t use a mouse to see what has keyboard focus. Find out more about 2.4.12 – Focus Not Obscured (w3.org)
2.4.13 – Focus Appearance
Focus indicators must have sufficient colour contrast between the focused and unfocused states and should be of a sufficient size so as to be clearly visible. This helps people identify small changes in visual appearance. Find out more about 2.4.13 – Focus Appearance (w3.org)
3.3.9 – Accessible Authentication (Enhanced)
Users shouldn’t have to memorize information or solve a puzzle to login. If an authentication process includes a cognitive function test, you must provide an alternative way to authenticate, or provide a help mechanism to complete the test. At level AAA, a cognitive function test that requires the recognition of an object isn’t permitted. This helps people with cognitive difficulties. Find out more about 3.3.9 – Accessible Authentication (w3.org)
What are the timescales?
You should start to familiarise yourself with the new success criteria now, and integrate them into your processes. The Government Digital Service (GDS) will start monitoring accessibility of websites and apps to WCAG 2.2 level AA in October 2024.
How Storm ID can help
Storm ID provide a range of accessibility services, and can help you with WCAG 2.2 conformance. Please get in touch to find out more.