Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: Quick Reference

June 20, 2006

Topics: Accessibility, News, Web Development, Web standards.

After the less-than-positive reaction to the complexity of the WCAG 2.0 working draft released for last call comments on April 27th, the WAI appears to have responded with the release of a quick reference to the success criteria and how to meet them.

One of the main reasons that WCAG 2.0 is so difficult to understand is that it was written with the intention not to require reference to a particular technology. Thus, from a practical standpoint, it is a very difficult document to manage. This quick reference has been written explicitly to provide reference for currently used standard web technologies – CSS, scripting, Multimedia technologies and others. In addition, it allows the ability to disable technology references which have no bearing on your current project – if you aren’t using SMIL, then you can disable this option in the quick reference.

Although the content guidelines themselves still have problems, particularly in reference to cognitive impairments, at least it will now be noticeably easier to make relationships between your practical, day-to-day work with code and the new guidelines for content accessibility.

As an aside, the guidelines for WCAG 2 are in no way binding until WCAG 2 has been moved to full recommendation status. This will likely take quite some time yet – I don’t anticipate that the draft will move to recommendation until at least sometime late in 2007.