WCAG Overview Revision Draft with Comments

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{@@comment: I suggest so-and-so because such-and-such -Jane}
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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview

Quick links:

{@@comment: The WCAG Overview is linked from a number of other pages. I would suggest it should not start with links off page, but be treated as a page you go to ie the Overview ~ Suzette}
{@@reply: The issue is that some people will use this as their main navigation page to WCAG supporting materials. After they read the page once, they'll want quick links to the documents. ~Shawn}

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) documents explain how to make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a Web page or Web application, including text, images, forms, sounds, and such.

WCAG is part of a series of accessibility guidelines, including the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG). Essential Components of Web Accessibility explains the relationship between the different guidelines.

{@@comment: This page is part of a set of overviews for WCAG, ATAG and UUAG which all have similar subheadings and subsections. When this section says WCAG 'documents' is it referring to ATAG and UAAG or the to other WCAG support docs? If I deleted the word 'documents' would it make a difference? I think I expect this section to be only talking about WCAG and not its relationship with the other two. Suzette}
{@@reply: "WCAG documents" includes the Techniques, Understanding, etc. ~Shawn}
{@@reply: We really want to promote the set of standards - that WCAG is one piece and ATAG and UAAG are also important. How do we do that? ~Shawn}

Who WCAG is for

WCAG is primarily intended for:

  • Web content developers (page authors, site designers, etc.)
  • Web authoring tool developers
  • Web accessibility evaluation tool developers
  • Others who want or need a technical standard for Web accessibility

WCAG and related resources are also intended to meet the needs of many different audiences, including people who are new to Web accessibility, policy makers, managers, and others.

{@@ new text:}WCAG is a technical specification, not an introduction to accessibility. For a short introduction to 3 web accessibility issues (alternative text for images, keyboard input, and transcripts), see What: Examples of Web Accessibility. To start learning about web accessibility principles and requirements, see Accessibility Principles.

{@@ In this case, what does WCAG and related resources refer to and is this different to WCAG documents? I think it should be talking about WCAG 2.0 plus Techniques and Understanding and plus maybe the other WAI materials ~ Suzette}

What is in the WCAG 2.0 Documents

{@@edit: this section is revised}

WCAG 2.0 is a stable, referenceable technical standard. It has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.

For a short summary of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, see WCAG 2.0 at a Glance.

The WCAG 2.0 supporting technical materials include:

For more details on how these document are related and how they are linked, see The WCAG 2.0 Documents.

{@@ This section seems quite confused and has 9 links - 3 of which point to the same place. The link re A, AA AAA doesn't seem to land in the right place. I propose the links should point to the main approved documents: WCAG 2.0, Understanding, Techniques, and Quick reference plus At a glance. (5 links maximum).~ Suzette}

{@@ The reference to 'The WCAG 2.0 documents' goes to the graphic device that shows the relationship of the standard, plus understanding, techniques and at a glance. Maybe we can use it as a guide to make sure we have explained the relationship on this page? ALSO: is this the WCAG documents or resources referred to earlier? ~ Suzette}

Additional Support Material

{@@edit: delete next sentence}Educational material related to WCAG 2.0 is listed in the navigation area of this page.

WAI is planning additional material to help Web developers who are not accessibility experts develop accessible Web content that conforms to WCAG 2.0. We plan to develop "Application Notes" (working title) in 2013 to provide guidance for specific topics, such as images, links, or tables. For example, an Application Note on forms would start with simple examples and include the WCAG 2.0 success criteria, techniques, and strategies for developing accessible forms.

WAI updates Techniques for WCAG 2.0 and Understanding WCAG 2.0 periodically. We welcome comments and submission of new techniques.

{@@comment: This feels very dated. I think we could use this section to say something about WAI new educational materials. ~ Suzette}
{@@reply: I updated it a bit. Which new educational materials? ~Shawn}

Technical document format

WCAG follows the W3C format for technical specifications, which includes several sections at the beginning: links to different versions, editors, copyright, abstract, and status with the link to errata and the email address for comments. {@@edit: delete next sentence}Most WAI specifications have a link at the top to the Table of Contents.

WCAG 2.0 is ISO 40500

{@@edit: new section}

WCAG 2.0 [is expected to be] approved as an ISO standard: ISO/IEC @@DIS 40500. For more information, see ISO in the FAQ.

{@@NOTE: this is draft wording, ISO 40500 is not yet finalized!}


WCAG Versions: 1.0 and 2.0

{@@comment: Shall we move this to the FAQ and just have one short sentence here to point there? ~Shawn}
{@@reply: Yes!I guess we have to have a reference to WCAG 1.0 somewhere - I met someone today who was demo'ing an editing tool who was clearly confused. Personally I would like to bury all refs to WCAG 1.0 into some distant archive. Suzette}

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 was published in May 1999. WCAG 2.0 was published on 11 December 2008. WCAG 2.0 applies broadly to more advanced technologies; is easier to use and understand; and is more precisely testable with automated testing and human evaluation.

W3C WAI recommends using WCAG 2.0, instead of WCAG 1.0.

Most Web sites that conform to WCAG 1.0 will not require significant changes in order to conform to WCAG 2.0, and some may not need any changes. To help you move to WCAG 2.0, WAI is developing:


{@@comment: Maybe move most links here instead of throughout the document to improve readability? ~Shawn for Suzette :)}

Who develops WCAG

{@@comment: Shall we move this to the FAQ and just have one short sentence here to point there? ~Shawn}

WCAG technical documents are developed by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (WCAG WG), which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). For more information about the working group, see the WCAG WG page.

@@ shorter more friendly way to say you are invited to participate? -- or delete this? or add to FAQ @@
How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process: Milestones and Opportunities to Contribute describes formal periods for public review. Opportunities for review and comment of WAI documents in progress are announced on the WAI home page and WAI Interest Group mailing list. There is a form for comments on existing WCAG 2.0 documents, and a form for submission of new techniques.

Opportunities for contributing to WCAG and other WAI work are introduced in Participating in WAI.