WCAG | Digital Accessibility Standards

WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the standards created by the W3 organization’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) group. WCAG revolves around 4 concepts that are goals for all web content: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust. The current published version of WCAG is 2.1, released in June 2018; WCAG 2.2 is in development, and pieces of WCAG 2.2 are being incorporated into the official version of WCAG as they are finalized.

Who has to comply?

Everyone with a website should try to comply with WCAG. WCAG is dynamic and fluid and is generally recognized as the global standard. Many different countries either link their standards directly to WCAG or derive their own standards from WCAG.

What happens if I don’t comply? And who enforces it?

Not complying with WCAG standards leaves you open to lawsuits if someone tries to use your website and cannot. If you would like to enter into contracts with the government, not being in compliance with WCAG will prevent you from being eligible. WCAG is not recognized as a legal standard in and of itself, so not being in compliance with WCAG will not result in fines or other penalties unless an individual initiates legal action against you because some or all of your website is not accessible.

What do I have to do to comply?

In order to be in compliance with WCAG, you need to have a website that satisfies all the A and AA level accessibility goals laid out in WCAG 2.0; websites that meet the AA level WCAG 2.0 articles are generally considered to be accessible. However, we recommend adhering to all A and AA articles of the more extensive standards in the latest version of the WCAG for the highest level of litigation protection.

The number of lawsuits is growing every year. There were over 11,000 federal lawsuits in 2019 and countless more other state and local lawsuites. The Supreme Court ruling in 2019 against Domino’s Pizza not only solidified the legal responsibility of digital accessibility for businesses but it also raised awareness significantly.

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