The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standard is stable, normative, and is referenced in many policies around the world. Accompanying WCAG 2.0 are informative (and periodically updated) documents with advice for people using WCAG – the Understanding and Techniques documents. These documents provide valuable information and examples to help make it easier to support WCAG.
This publication of the latest versions of the Techniques and Understanding documents is notable for a few important reasons:
- New ARIA techniques
- Faster release schedule
- Transition to GitHub
New ARIA Techniques
The new versions of the Techniques and Understanding documents include many additional techniques showing ways to meet WCAG 2.0 success criteria with different technologies – in particular this release includes sixteen additional ARIA techniques as well as modifications to other techniques that now include additional information about ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications). ARIA is increasingly important for authors to understand and use to make complex content and applications accessible.
As the level of accessibility support for ARIA continues to improve (for instance, note the updates to Success Criteria 1.1.1), the Working Group expects to develop further techniques to address a wider range of situations.
Faster Release Schedule
Previously the Techniques and the Understanding documents were updated every 18-24 months. The Working Group is now scheduling updates to these documents on a 6 month cycle.
One major benefit of the shorter release schedule is that the documents can better keep pace with changes in technological specifications, authoring practices, and user agent support improvements. The Working Group welcomes feedback and techniques on an ongoing basis, and can continuously improve the content, so authors will benefit from updates regularly.
Transition to GitHub
The WCAG source documents for techniques and understanding documents are now maintained within the W3C’s GitHub repository. This allows everyone to easily offer comments, changes, and examples which will then be discussed by the Working Group for approval. The Working Group recognizes that not everyone is familiar with GitHub, so will be developing additional guidance to help people learn about how to best submit changes and examples, and for people who prefer the current method the web-based feedback form is still available. For information on commenting on WCAG documents, please visit “Instructions for Commenting on WCAG 2.0 Documents”.
The Working Group is already working on issues for the September 2014 update. As the current updates of the Techniques and Understanding documents are used, it is expected that additional ideas will be generated. Please feel free to contact the Working Group with comments or questions.