A New Era for Web Accessibility: WCAG 2.0 is Finalized

WCAG 2.0 was published today as a final Web Standard “W3C Recommendation”. Check out the official announcement, e-mail, press release, testimonials, and a personal reflection on WCAG. Here are some additional perspectives on a few points.

WCAG 2.0 is a significant improvement. It’s better for website creators, it’s better for people with disabilities, and many others, too. WCAG 2.0 met its goals: to apply to more advanced technologies; to be more precisely testable (with automated testing and human evaluation); and to be easier to use and understand.

WCAG 2.0 is designed to be a stable standard that is broadly applicable (including to non-W3C technologies), and to have along with it supporting documents that provide detailed guidance, explanations, and examples. These supporting documents will be updated periodically so we can incorporate new techniques, technologies, and best practices.

This WCAG 2.0 publication also comes with real-world examples of every requirement (success criteria). Gathering this “implementation experience” is now part of the W3C Process.

Developers and designers will find WCAG 2.0 more flexible than 1.0. For example, scripting is not forbidden and is even included as techniques to enhance accessibility. And where WCAG 1.0 essentially did not allow flashing or other movement, WCAG 2.0 allows it within defined parameters that won’t cause seizures.

WCAG 2.0 also defines better accessibility for people with disabilities (and thus more benefits to others as well, including older users). For example, it has new requirements related to informing users of data entry errors. With the advisory techniques it offers suggestions such as improving accessibility for people with cognitive/intellectual disabilities.

WAI and the WCAG Working Group actively worked with organizations around the world towards “harmonization“; that is, one shared international standard for web content accessibility, rather than different ones in different countries. And there are already plans for Authorized Translations of WCAG 2.0 in several languages.

WCAG was developed through the contributions of hundreds of people representing a wide range of interests and experiences. Thanks to careful review and comments from around the world, including from disability organizations, and the dedication of the WCAG Working Group, WCAG 2.0 improved with each Working Draft to become the mature standard published today.

Many individuals and organizations are endorsing WCAG 2.0. Will you add your voice to those supporting WCAG 2.0 and help spread the good news?

Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll be providing additional material, such as presentations slides and policy transition support. We look forward to your suggestions for how we can make WCAG 2.0 materials easier to use. You can send your comments to a publicly-archived list or to a WAI internal-only list; or participate in discussions on the WAI Interest Group e-mail list.

— Shawn Henry for W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

11 thoughts on “A New Era for Web Accessibility: WCAG 2.0 is Finalized

  1. Congratulations to all that contributed.

    I was teaching a course only today about WCAG 2.0 and it received good feedback as an advancement.

    The question was raised about when this would be * the * offical standard – and I was pleased to announce that between the start and the end of the course it had made the leap to the one to officially cite and work towards! Great timing many thanks.

    It is good to reassure those that do have an already accessible site that they have nothing to fear and only clarity to gain from using the new guidelines and techniques.

    many thanks


  2. Indeed great news.
    Surely the flexibility in implementation options for gidelines will encourage designers and developers to be innovative in accessible manner.

  3. I know the WAI team has received a lot of criticism over the past few years for the significant delays in getting these standards polished off and released. Let’s hope that now these guidelines are available that those in the Web industry will pull behind them, taking the responsibility of getting all their staff familiar with, and working to these standards.

    With luck this will put an end to the fragmented approach the industry has taken towards implementing accessibility in recent times, removing confusion (from both developers and clients alike) and building support for a single central standard.

    Also, let’s not lose sight of why we are all doing this: for those Web users with disabilities who need sites to be more accessible. Hope these standards help to deliver the benefits that these users so badly need!

  4. I would like to express my personal gratitud to all thoes who contributud with their experiences, ideas, and work to this reference. It will make web pages world wide better.

    Daniel García Angulo

  5. Although I am currently finishing my Master Thesis on Accessibility and Usability applying WCAG 1.0, I will try to include some info about WCAG 2.0 because it seems far better than 1.0.

    Good job!

  6. I am looking forward to participating in the discussions on the WAI Interest Group e-mail list. Congratulations to all those who participated in the drafting process!

  7. I specially thanks to WAI Team that they have done very nice job for disability people. I am from nepal and i have not seen any web site which meets WCAG standard. I would try to convince to my developer that, their framwork should compatible for disabiliy people too.

  8. The new guidelines are much clearer than version 1.0. It’s obvious a lot of thoughtful work has gone into producing them. Congratulations to everyone involved. I feel confident version 2.0 will equip us with what we need to know to liaise with web developers confidently when we have our website redeveloped.

  9. Hello to WCAG 2.0 members and all of the other folks who made 2.0 a reality. Many individuals worked long and hard to to finalize a document that will carry web developers further into the future with regard to web site accessibility as they implement WCAG 2.0. This was not an easy process and I am sorry that I took so long to comment to the larger group. Nice job!

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