The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has finalised the next version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, known as WCAG 2.2.
After much anticipation, the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) has finally arrived. Version 2.2 has officially been made a ‘Recommendation’ by the World Wide Web Consortium (also known as the W3C), which means it is stable with no further changes. For any organisation wanting to conformance to the latest version of WCAG, WCAG 2.2 will be your go-to version.
It’s the first major update to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in nearly five and a half years, with the last update, WCAG 2.1, launched in June 2018.
So what’s new in WCAG 2.2?
As a part of the updated Guidelines, there are 9 new success criteria.
There are 2 new Level A criteria:
- 3.2.6 Consistent Help
- 3.3.7 Redundant Entry
There are 4 new Level AA criteria:
- 2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum)
- 2.5.7 Dragging Movements
- 2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum)
- 3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum)
There are 3 new Level AAA criteria.
- 2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced)
- 2.4.13 Focus Appearance
- 3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (Enhanced)
Most of the new criteria are design-driven requirements. They also take into consideration the increased use of certain technologies, such as multi-factor authentication.
There is also one change to an existing success criterion – 4.1.1 Parsing (Level A) has been marked as obsolete and removed. This criteria, released as part of WCAG 2.0, was necessary when assistive technologies needed to directly parse HTML, and parsing errors weren’t handled as well as they are today. As a result, issues that were previously covered by this criterion either no longer exist, or are covered by other success criteria. Notes have also been added to previous versions of WCAG (2.0 and 2.1) to reflect this update.
Does this mean I need to start thinking about WCAG 2.2?
The short answer is yes.
Now that the new version is finalised, the W3C recommends that websites meet WCAG 2.2. Embracing the new requirements also means a more accessible experience for people using your product or service.
We anticipate that policies and standards that reference WCAG 2.1 or below, such as the European Commission’s Web Accessibility Directive, or EN 301 549, will be updated to reflect WCAG 2.2 in the future. We’ll keep you updated of changes over the coming months. In the meantime, to future-proof your products and services, consider moving to WCAG 2.2 as soon as you can, especially for new content or features.
The good news is that if you’re already meeting all the requirements of WCAG 2.1 (or are in the process doing so), you’re already most of the way there. The most common conformance level that organisations typically aim for is Level AA. This means that there are 6 new Level A and AA success criteria that you need to take into consideration. By conforming to WCAG 2.2, you’ll also conform to previous versions of the Guidelines (2.1 and 2.0).
Where can I find more information about WCAG 2.2?
There is already some useful information and resources that are available to you, and there’s also plenty more on the way.
The main source of truth, the World Wide Web Consortium, has published the standard in full, along with supporting documentation to help you understand the guidelines:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 – the official standard
- How to Meet WCAG 2.2
- Understanding WCAG 2.2
- Techniques for WCAG 2.2
- What’s New in WCAG 2.2
We also have an updated version of our much-loved WCAG Map! The WCAG 2.2 Map is now available and can be used to map out what success criteria you need to consider (see what we did there).
We’ll also be hosting an Ask Us Anything free webinar on Wednesday 18 October at 1pm AEDT (GMT +11). You’ll have the opportunity to hear from our team about what they think of the updates to WCAG, and ask them any questions about WCAG 2.2.
We’ll also have more information and helpful resources available over the coming weeks. These will help you understand exactly what the new success criteria are, and how to meet them. Follow us on LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and YouTube, or subscribe to our newsletter (which you can do at the bottom of this page) to stay up to date. We’ll also be updating our Not-Checklist soon, stay tuned.
If you’re keen to hop down the rabbit hole and begin the journey to meeting WCAG 2.2, we’re here to help. In fact, we’ve already helped some of our client organisations who have been implementing WCAG 2.2 before it was finalised. Contact us through our website, and someone from our team will get back to you.
Happy WCAG 2.2 release day!