W3C Issues Improved Accessibility Guidance for Websites and Applications

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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 expands provisions for mobile, low vision, and cognitive and learning disabilities; international uptake in progress

Read testimonials about WCAG 2.1

https://www.w3.org/ — 5 June 2018 — Today W3C announces a significant update to W3C's internationally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which addresses accessibility of web content, websites and web applications on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 expands upon guidance developed by W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) over the years, and is used widely around the world to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.



"Developed through W3C's consensus process and WAI's strong multi-stakeholder engagement, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 helps Web designers and developers better meet the needs of users with disabilities and older users. The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG) addressed new requirements towards a goal of coordinated international uptake and standards harmonization." — Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO

Enables Website Developers to Reach a Broader Audience

WCAG 2.1 expands existing coverage of mobile accessibility, and adds more provisions in the areas of low vision, and cognitive and learning disabilities.

"WCAG 2.1 improves support for interactions using touch, including guidance for complex gestures and for avoiding unintended activation of a touch interface. For low vision, WCAG 2.1 extends contrast requirements to graphics and introduces new requirements for text and layout customization to support better visual perception of content. And for cognitive, language, and learning disabilities, WCAG 2.1 includes requirements to provide information about the specific purpose of input controls and to support timeouts due to inactivity; both to help users better understand web content and how to successfully interact with it." — Andrew Kirkpatrick, Head of Accessibility, Adobe

As with WCAG 2.0, following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. Following these guidelines can also make websites more usable for all users.

Continues Evolution of W3C WAI's Authoritative and Testable Accessibility Guidance

WCAG 2.1 updates WCAG 2.0 and expands W3C's accessibility guidance, while maintaining W3C's standard of implementable, technology neutral, objectively testable and universally applicable accessibility guidance. All new provisions have been tested in implementations across different types of websites and web content. The Working Group has taken care to maintain backwards compatibility with the internationally-recognized WCAG 2.0, in that websites that conform to WCAG 2.1 will also conform to WCAG 2.0, which remains a W3C Recommendation.

WCAG 2.0 was designed as a highly stable, technology-agnostic standard, and has been kept relevant through updates to informative supporting resources. As with WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1 is supported by an extensive library of implementation techniques and educational materials, including Understanding WCAG 2.1 and Techniques for WCAG 2.1, which have been redesigned and moved to a different format to allow WAI to continue to update these on an ongoing basis.

Wide Support for this Advance; Expected International Uptake

WCAG 2.1 has received wide support from industry, including accessibility-focused businesses, the disability community, research, education and government, as shown in the accompanying testimonials.

In addition, W3C is coordinating with national and international regions updating their standards and policies, including the current update of the European Norm (EN) 301 549, which has been undergoing its own independent review process.

"W3C encourages organizations and individuals to use WCAG 2.1 in web content and applications, and to consider WCAG 2.1 when updating or developing new policies, in order to better address the needs of more web and mobile users with disabilities. Additionally, we welcome continued engagement from the international community as we develop future accessibility guidelines." — Judy Brewer, WAI Director

WCAG 2.1 is part of W3C WAI's stably evolving well regarded accessibility guidance, which also includes the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0, and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0. These guidelines, as well as an extensive library of supporting materials for WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 are available at www.w3.org/WAI/.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C develops well known specifications such as HTML5, CSS, and the Open Web Platform as well as work on security and privacy, all created in the open and provided for free and under the unique W3C Patent Policy. For its work to make online videos more accessible with captions and subtitles, W3C received a 2016 Emmy Award.

W3C's vision for "One Web" brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. W3C is jointly hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.

About the Web Accessibility Initiative

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a coordinated program of accessibility-related work, within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), that works with organizations around the world to make the Web more accessible for people with disabilities and older users. Accessibility work at W3C includes ensuring that Web technologies support accessibility; developing accessibility guidelines; developing resources to support improved evaluation tools; developing resources for education and outreach; coordinating with research and development efforts that can affect future accessibility of the Web; and promoting harmonization of international Web accessibility standards. WAI is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the European Commission's Information Society Technologies Programme, Bocoup, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. For more information see http://www.w3.org/WAI/

End Press Release

Media Contact

Amy van der Hiel, W3C Media Relations Coordinator <w3t-pr@w3.org>
+1.617.253.5628 (US, Eastern Time)

Testimonials about WCAG 2.1

Access Board Accessibility Foundation AdobeAlfasadoAMAC Accessibility at Georgia Tech Benetech BeyondsoftChina MobileConexxusConsensus Systems LLC European Disability Forum G3ict – Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs IBM Interactive Accessibility Intopia KnowbilityMitsue-Links Co. Ltd.NIC.brThe Paciello GroupUK Government VitalSourceWiley Zhejiang University

Access Board

The Access Board applauds progress made by the W3C Accessibility Guidelines Working Group in their release of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Recommendation. The Working Group’s efforts to broaden the range of disability needs currently addressed by WCAG 2.0 will benefit many individuals who still encounter barriers to accessing the web.

David M. Capozzi, Executive Director

Accessibility Foundation

WCAG 2.1 is a vital set of guidelines for web accessibility that strongly supports innovative solutions for web and mobile applications. We are particularly happy with the addition of provisions for people with low vision and cognitive and learning disabilities. One of the tasks of the Accessibility Foundation is monitoring the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public and private sector organizations. For them, WCAG 2.1 supports both innovation and European legislation and standards (EN 301-549). We will continue to support EOWG in the update and drafting of related documents and tools like the WCAG-EM report tool and accessibility statements.

Eric Velleman, Scientific Director


Adobe congratulates the World Wide Web Consortium on the release of WCAG 2.1 and is proud to be a contributor to this important and needed update to WCAG 2.0. This update offers improved support for people with disabilities and provides a clear signal from the W3C and W3C member companies that accessibility standards need to keep up with advances in technology. The crucial backward-compatibility of WCAG 2.1 will help ensure that accessibility standards can evolve to keep up with technology without sacrificing the standards harmonization that is so important to successful implementation of accessibility on a global scale. WCAG 2.1 will be part of Adobe’s development strategy moving forward to help us create solutions that benefit everyone.

Kumar Vora, VP & GM, Cloud Platform and Experiences


アルファサード(株)は、W3CのWeb Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1の勧告を歓迎します。私達は新WCAG2.1が、Webの本質である普遍性(universality)と、障害の有無に関わらずあらゆる人がアクセスできる世界の 実現を加速することを確信します。アルファサードは、制作・運用中のWebサイトやWebアプリケーションを新WCAG2.1に対応を進め、自社開発・提 供のWCAG 2.0対応試験ツールを新WCAG2.1へ対応させてゆくことを表明します。

アルファサード株式会社 代表取締役 野田 純生

AMAC Accessibility at Georgia Tech

AMAC Accessibility is excited about the improved updates within WCAG 2.1. Unrestricted access to digital content for people with disabilities represents everything we at AMAC Accessibility strive toward, both for our customers with disabilities, along with our various shareholders and agencies we serve across the globe. WCAG 2.1 assists us in supporting and reinforcing that commitment. Also, as someone who is legally blind, and benefits directly from the improvements in WCAG 2.1 for people with low vision, I am personally grateful for the guidance and leadership of W3C-WAI in shepherding this important process, and bringing it to fruition in such short order.

John Rempel, QA Accessibility Analyst


Benetech is excited that low-vision and cognitive disability success criteria have been added to the WCAG 2.1 specification. These additions offer opportunities for greater inclusion and better support for students with disabilities and learning differences.

Charles LaPierre, Technical Lead, DIAGRAM Center and Born Accessible


博彦科技:十年磨一剑,翘首以盼的WCAG 2.1终于发布了。WCAG 2.1版本不仅覆盖了web网页更多的展示形式,还顺应时代的要求,极大增加了移动端可访问性;同时制定了更多详细规则,进一步保障视力、认知和学习障碍等人士平等、便利 的获取信息。博彦科技正在积极给本公司的产品实现WCAG 2.1,为残障人士提供更好的服务。

博彦集智科技副总裁 韩洁

China Mobile

WCAG 是一项有着重要实用价值和深远社会意义的成果,这项工作让广大残障人士更加容易访问Web内容,让人人享有平等获取信息服务的权利。我们也将学习 WCAG成果,结合人工智能、5G、高清多媒体通信等技术,与产业链共同推进无障碍通信技术的研究和应用,为人人平等享有智能通信服务的权利而努力。

程宝平 中国移动杭州研发中心融合通信系统部负责人


For us at Conexxus, convenience in the retail user experience is a key concern, promoting availability, understandability, and expedient location of services. Likewise, for the W3C, accessibility in the Web user experience is fundamental, promoting the ability of people with different backgrounds, talents, and capabilities to interact successfully with the World Wide Web. Accessibility makes using the Web convenient for everyone! Because it addresses evolving consumer demands for convenience in using mobile devices, Conexxus welcomes WCAG 2.1, and commends the on-going efforts of the W3C to make the web convenient for everyone.

Linda Toth Director of Standards

Consensus Systems LLC

The W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have been one of the great success stories of the Open Web. The Web is accessible to people of various abilities due to the hard work of the W3C and WCAG 2.1 continues this important work. ConsenSys is pleased to support a fully accessible Web for all.

Dr. David Hyland-Wood, Blockchain Protocol Architect

European Disability Forum

Technologies constantly evolve and converge in the web. Therefore, the accessibility standards must also progress in parallel, so persons with disabilities are not left behind and can access all digital services on an equal basis with others as required by the UN CRPD. This was the objective of the advocacy campaign of the European disability movement towards the adoption of the 2016 EU Directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies. We are proud to say that this will be the first legislation in the world that will be underpinned by WCAG 2.1 and that 80 million Europeans with disabilities will benefit from the most up-to-date web accessibility standards.

Yannis Vardakastanis, President

G3ict – Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs

The release of WCAG 2.1 is of great value to the 177 countries parties to the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities seeking to implement its accessiblity provisions. Thanks to W3C’s effective consensus building processes among multiple stakeholders, the Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines are well recognized as the global standard for web accessiblity which most governments and user organizations refer to. Having them updated will greatly facilitate the work of governments, advocacy organizations and user organizations promoting accessiblity. WCAG 2.1, by incorporating recent technology innovation and global usage patterns will definitely further reinforce their universal adoption.

Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director


With the launch of WCAG 2.1, web content will be more accessible to people with disabilities and the coverage is expanded to reflect the ever-growing use of mobile technology. Through a lot of hard work, the Working Group met an ambitious timeline to deliver on schedule in support of international updates, including the new EN 301-549 standards in Europe and updates to standards in China. Interactive Accessibility is proud to have contributed to a very important update to the W3C’s internationally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Simeon McAleer, Ph.D., IBM Accessibility Center of Excellence

Interactive Accessibility

With the launch of WCAG 2.1, web content will be more accessible to people with disabilities and the coverage is expanded to reflect the ever-growing use of mobile technology. Through a lot of hard work, the Working Group met an ambitious timeline to deliver on schedule in support of international updates, including the new EN 301-549 standards in Europe and updates to standards in China. Interactive Accessibility is proud to have contributed to a very important update to the W3C’s internationally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Kathleen Wahlbin, CEO


We welcome the release of WCAG 2.1, which will better support the creation of an inclusive digital world. This extension to the internationally-recognised WCAG 2.0 standard formalises what many have considered best practice for web accessibility. It will particularly benefit users with low vision and cognitive and learning disabilities, and mobile accessibility. It's encouraging that many of the organizations we work with are actively embracing the new extension.

Sarah Pulis, Co-Founder


Knowbility welcomes the efforts of the W3C to update WCAG to improve web accessibility for all. We are pleased to see the new WCAG 2.1 success criteria extend access to areas of disability not covered before. We acknowledge the efforts of all contributors to research and develop these new success criteria.

Sharron Rush (Executive Director), and Katie Haritos-Shea (AC Rep)

Mitsue-Links Co.,Ltd.

株式会社ミツエーリンクスは、WCAG 2.1がW3Cより勧告されたことを大変喜ばしく思います。WebサイトやWebアプリケーションを誰もが利用できるよう制作するうえで必要不可欠な品質基準のひとつとし て、これまで当社はWCAG 2.0に則ったWebサイトの構築・運用に積極的に取り組んできました。より多様なユーザーが、より多様なデバイスを使ってWebを利用するようになった現状を踏まえ、今 後はWCAG 2.1に則る予定です。また、アクセシビリティの確保が障害者や高齢者に限らず、あらゆるユーザーのユーザー体験に資するものとの理解が、WCAG 2.1の勧告によって社会に広く浸透することを強く期待します

Kazuhito Kidachi, Director and CTO
木達一仁,取締役 兼 CTO,株式会社ミツエーリンクス


The Network Information Center (NIC.br) congratulates W3C for the launch of the first update of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG 2.1. Accessibility on the Web is a very relevant topic in Brazil. Since 2016 a law has been passed requiring websites to follow good practices and international accessibility guidelines. NIC.br acts strongly in the dissemination of digital accessibility by promoting different activities such as courses, events, publications and translations of W3C content for the Brazilian market. WCAG 2.0 is the first authorized translation into Brazilian Portuguese and we intend to apply the same effort to make WCAG 2.1 available to the Brazilian public.

Hartmut Glaser, Director

The Paciello Group

WCAG 2.1 is an important step towards better accessibility for content on the modern web platform. The Paciello Group is pleased to have contributed to the new WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria, and to have incorporated them into our products and services so we are ready to help our clients around the world create even more inclusive user interfaces.

Léonie Watson Director of Developer Communications

UK Government

As a government that strives to ensure that its websites and services are accessible to all users, including people with disabilities, we fully support the updates to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We welcome the new Success Criteria as they will help make websites and mobile apps accessible to more people and will help designers and developers avoid common barriers that can prevent people from successfully using them.

Alistair Duggin, Head of Accessibility, Government Digital Service


VitalSource, and all of our more than 25 million users, are excited about the release of WCAG 2.1. For more than a decade, our commitment to 'no compromise' accessibility has been welcomed by both our publishing partners, and the users of our platform. With its focus on mobile accessibility, WCAG 2.1 will provide improved benefits to the majority of our users who are on mobile platforms, and we look forward to releasing conformant updates later this year.

Rick Johnson, Vice President of Product Strategy at VitalSource


The WCAG standards should be the cornerstone to any accessibility work. At Wiley, the WCAG standards are being built into the framework of our workflows and processes, so that content is born accessible. With WCAG 2.1, new standards help us create more versatile mobile content, as well as build improvements for users with low vision and cognitive disabilities. Here at Wiley we are extremely excited for the 2.1 release to further guide us in the journey to creating content and tools to help anyone—and everyone—learn and achieve their goals.

Laura Albert, Accessibility Specialist, Content Management Services

Zhejiang University

WCAG作为最早引入中国的互联网内容无障碍标准,自2008年以来一直对我国信息无障碍内容标准的制定与应用推广有着深 远的影响。本次发布的WCAG 2.1考虑了现阶段新技术的发展趋势与用户的客观需求。浙江大学在参与该标准制定工作的同时,也将把WCAG 2.1标准的部分内容与新制定的国家标准有机融合,以适应中国互联网的发展需求。

浙江大学软件学院常务副院长 卜佳俊教授

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