Levels of Website Accessibility (WCAG)

Universal Handicap Symbol

As covered in a previous blog, making sure website accessibility is included in the design process is probably the simplest way to ensure it happens.

But there is still a need for testing. 

We need to know what to test for. The guidelines issued by the W3C give a starting place

The standards outlined in W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are organized into three level; A, AA and AAA.

Level A cover the most basic web accessibility features and is the minimum standard a website should meet. For example, the WCAG guideline All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the situations listed below. A solution at this level would be providing a transcript for pre-recorded audio.

Level AA requirements ensure that content achieves a greater degree of accessibility People with disabilities will have an easier time accessing content that meets Level AA criteria than they would with content that only meets Level A. A solution at this level.  A solution at this level would be providing an audio description for pre-recorded audio.

Level AAA is the highest and most complex level of web accessibility.  This level includes additional requirements, some of which enhance those established in Level AA criteria.  For pre-recorded audio, sign language interpretation should be implemented.

A quick reference to the WCAG guidelines can be found here: How to Meet WCAG 2 (Quick Reference)

Remember, Level A is the minimum a website should meet for the page to be considered accessible.  Level AA is the level most websites should strive for, this should also ensure compliance with the 508 Standards.  Level AAA is the “Holy Grail” of accessibility, but whenever possible the WCAG standards at this level should be implemented.

The next post will cover methods and tools to test a website for the WCAG standards.