WCAG 3 Introduction
WCAG 3 is currently an incomplete draft. It is intended to develop into a W3C Standard in a few years. The current standard, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2), is introduced in the WCAG 2 Overview.
The WCAG 3 documents explain how to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG 3 applies to web content, apps, tools, publishing, and emerging technologies on the web.
This page will be updated regularly as work on the WCAG 3 Draft progresses.
Status: Draft for Review
The first Draft was published in December 2021. It included:
- proposed structure
- draft conformance model
- 5 draft example guidelines
The latest Editors’ Draft has proposed revisions that are not yet approved for publication. (The previously published W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0 Working Draft is significantly outdated.)
We received a lot feedback and are using that to rewrite the approach. We will use an iterative approach to create WCAG 3, that makes content visible at various states of maturity. Each normative section is given a status. This status indicates how far along in the development process this section is, how ready it is for experimental adoption, and what kind of feedback we are looking for.
- Placeholder: This content is temporary. It shows the type of content or section to expect. Placeholder text will be replaced. It is hidden by default in the Editor’s draft. No feedback is needed on placeholder content.
- Exploratory: The Working Group is exploring what direction to take with this section. This content is not refined; details and definitions may be missing. It is hidden by default in the Editor’s draft. We invite feedback on the proposed direction.
- Developing: There is rough agreement on what is needed for this section, although not all high-level concerns have been settled. Details are included, yet they are not all agreed on. We invite general feedback on how understandable, usable, and reasonable the section is generally.
- Refining: The Working Group has reach consensus on this section. It is ready for broad public review and experimental adoption. We seek feedback on feasibility and issues with implementations.
- Mature: The Working Group thinks this content is ready for the final standard. Feedback should be focused on edge case scenarios the Working Group might not have anticipated.
We seek input from evaluators, developers, designers, project managers, policy makers, people with disabilities, and others.
We also welcome comments on the goals and parameters in Requirements for WCAG 3.0.
The best way to provide this feedback is by opening new GitHub issues. Alternatively, e-mail email@example.com
Additionally, we welcome comments on ways that the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group can better support your review, feedback, and inclusion in the process of creating WCAG 3. Please e-mail these to firstname.lastname@example.org
WCAG 3 Draft Approach
Some Similar, Some Different
Goals for WCAG 3 include:
- be easier to understand
- cover more user needs, including more needs of people with cognitive disabilities
- be flexible to address different types of web content, apps, tools, and organizations
WCAG 3 is similar to previous versions in some ways. It has similar:
- goal of providing guidance on making web content and apps accessible to people with disabilities
- fundamental and specific accessibility requirements
WCAG 3 is very different from previous versions in some ways. It has:
- different structure
- different conformance model
- broader scope, beyond just web content
This WCAG 3 draft has:
- Solutions to accessibility problems
- More granular than the guidelines in WCAG 2
- Each guideline has outcomes
- Testable statements
- Similar to success criteria in WCAG 2, more granular and more focused on the desired results than the technical means for achieving them
More granular means they are more specific, instead of broad. That generally makes them simpler. It also means there will be more of WCAG 3 outcomes than WCAG 2 success criteria.
WCAG 3 supporting material includes:
- Technology-specific ways to achieve an outcome
- Tests for the outcome
- Similar to Techniques for WCAG 2
- How-To documents
- Explain more about each guideline, such as how it addresses accessibility needs
- Information for designers, developers, people new to accessibility, and project planners
- Similar to the Understanding documents for WCAG 2
- Functional categories of functional needs
- Categorized list of needs of people with disabilities
Draft Conformance Model
The conformance model is the way to determine and communicate how well a website (or app, tool, etc.) meets WCAG. The conformance model in this draft of WCAG 3 is very different from WCAG 2. It is intended to:
- be more flexible for organizations (that is, owners and developers of websites, apps, tools, etc.)
- encourage more accessible user experiences
We are reworking the conformance model based on feedback and we encourage additional feedback as we iterate.
The First Public Working Draft of WCAG 3.0 was published on 21 January 2021. It is the first of many drafts. The Working Draft published on 07 December 2021 has minor changes. Many issues are still open, including testing and conformance. An updated draft may be published in May 2023.
The Working Group will focus on refining the structure and conformance model, and will provide updated drafts for review. Once that is more stable, the Group will focus on developing the accessibility requirements (guidelines, outcomes, and support material). After WCAG 3 is more stable, we will provide material to help those wanting to transition to WCAG 3; for example, mapping between WCAG 2 and 3 requirements.
WCAG 3 is not expected to be a completed W3C standard for a few more years. WCAG 3 will not supersede WCAG 2, and WCAG 2 will not be deprecated, for at least several years after WCAG 3 is finalized.
We will update this section with more specific timeline information as it is available.
WCAG 3 Name (formerly “Silver” project)
The name of WCAG 3 is different from WCAG 2:
- WCAG 3 is W3C Accessibility Guidelines
- WCAG 2 is Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
“W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0” was chosen:
- because of wide-spread familiarity with the “WCAG” acronym
- to encompass the broader scope beyond “content”
Who Develops WCAG 3
The WCAG technical documents are developed by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG) with the AG WG Silver Task Force and the Silver Community Group. These Groups are part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). You can learn about the development process from How WAI Develops Accessibility Standards through the W3C Process: Milestones and Opportunities to Contribute.
We welcome your comments on WCAG 3 Working Drafts. The best way to provide feedback is by opening new GitHub issues. Alternatively, e-mail email@example.com
Opportunities for contributing more directly to WCAG and other WAI work are introduced in Participating in WAI.Back to Top