Web Accessibility Standards

I will breakdown every Web Accessibility Standard provided from the W3C by giving you the beginner version of that particular guideline.

The (WCAG) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is a list of Web Accessibility Standards that were put in place by (WAI) Web Accessibility Initiative of the (W3C) World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C is the organization that is recognized as the authority for the international accessibility standards and guidelines for the internet.

The W3C has created these web accessibility standards to help individuals with disabilities like low-vision access your website or software. If these standards are incorporated early in your design and development phase, it will add very little to the overall cost of the project. Not only have you potentially helped 1,000’s of people, but you will also have delivered a superior product that your competition probably does not even fully understand.

Here are the web accessibility standards with our explanation for what each one means and how to be compliant. Hopefully, this will help you understand what the actual standards are without having to be a lawyer.


1. Perceivable

Information and user interface components have to be presentable to users in ways that they can perceive. (i.e. a blind person hears the content and a deaf person must see the content)

Guideline 1.1: Text Alternatives

[Level A] 1.1.1 – Provide text alternatives (Alt Text) for images and other non-text content, including user interface components.

Guideline 1.2 Alternatives For Multimedia

[Level A] 1.2.2/1.2.4 – Provide synchronized captioning for ALL videos and multimedia content.

[Level A] 1.2.3/1.2.5 – Provide a synchronized audio description for ALL videos and multimedia content.

[Level A] 1.3.1 – Make sure the information, structure, and relationships conveyed visually are also available to users of assistive technology.

[Level A] 1.3.2 – Provide a reasonable and logical reading order when using assistive technology.

[Level A] 1.3.3 – Make sure that instructions are not conveyed only through sound, shape, size, or visual orientation.

[Level AA] 1.3.4 – Make sure the content does not restrict its view or operation to a single display orientation, such as portrait or landscape unless a specific display orientation is essential.

[Level AA] 1.3.5 – Make sure to identify the purpose of an input field in forms or any data collection.

Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable Content

[Level A] 1.4.1 – Make sure that information, prompts or instructions are not conveyed only through color.

[Level A] 1.4.2 – There has to be a way to stop, pause, mute, or adjust the volume to the audio that plays automatically.

[Level AA] 1.4.3 – Meet the minimum specified contrast ratio between the background and the foreground of text and images. [3:1 for links – or – 4.5:1 for everything else]

[Level AA] 1.4.4 – Make sure the text is still readable and functional even if the font is resized to 200 percent.

[Level AA] 1.4.5 – Use actual text and do not use images of text.

2. Operable

User interface components and navigation must be operable by all users.


Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Functionality

[Level A] 2.1.1 – There must be full functionality when using only the keyboard interface.

[Level A] 2.1.2 – Make sure that the keyboard focus is not trapped when the keyboard is used for navigation.

Guideline 2.2 Adjustable Time Limits

[Level A] 2.2.1 – Provide flexible or adjustable time limits.

[Level A] 2.2.2 – Give user control over moving, blinking, scrolling, or information that updates automatically.

Guideline 2.3 Seizures And Physical Reactions

[Level A] 2.3.1 Make sure nothing flashes more than three times per second unless the flash is below the general red flash threshold.

Guideline 2.4 Content Navigation

[Level A] 2.4.1 – Must have a skip navigation link or other means to bypass repetitive content.

[Level A] 2.4.2 – Provide descriptive and informative page titles.

[Level A] 2.4.3 – Provide a keyboard-oriented navigation order that is reasonable and logical.

[Level A] 2.4.4 – Make sure that all of your links are descriptive. Ie. do not use “Click Here” as your link description.

[Level AA] 2.4.5 – Include at least 2 or more ways to locate a web page within a set of web pages.

[Level AA] 2.4.6 – Make the headings and labels descriptive.

[Level AA] 2.4.7 – Make sure the keyboard focus is visually apparent when somebody uses the keyboard to navigate.

Guideline 2.5 Inputs Beyond The Keyboard

[Level A] 2.5.1 – Make functions that use multipoint or path-based gestures for operation can be operated with a single pointer without a path-based gesture unless it is essential.

[Level A] 2.5.2 – You have to be able to cancel or reverse an action taken

[Level A] 2.5.3 – User interface components with labels that include text or images, the name must include the text that is presented visually.

[Level A] 2.5.4 – Make sure that functions operated by device/user motion can also be disabled and operated by device/user interface components unless it’s essential.

3. Understandable

Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable by all users.

Guideline 3.1 Readable

[Level A] 3.1.1 – Make sure that the default language of your content is exposed to assistive technology.

Guideline 3.2 Predictable

[Level A] 3.2.1 – Make sure that user interface components do not initiate a change of context when receiving focus. Ie. when the mouse scrolls over something.

[Level A] 3.2.2 – When changing the settings of the user interface components, it does not automatically cause a change of context.

[Level AA] 3.2.3 – Make sure that repeated navigational components happen in the same relative order each time they are encountered.

[Level AA] 3.2.4 – Make sure that the components having the same functionality are identified consistently.

Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance

[Level A] 3.3.1 – Make sure automatically detected input errors are identified and described in the text to the user.

[Level A] 3.3.2 – Make sure you have labels or instructions when content requires user input.

[Level AA] 3.3.3 – Make sure the system creates and displays suggestions for correction when input errors are automatically detected unless it jeopardizes the security.

[Level AA] 3.3.4 – When legal, financial, or test data can be changed or deleted the changes or deletions can be reversed, verified, or confirmed.

4. Robust

Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies, browsers, and plugins.

Guideline 4.1 Compatible

[Level A] 4.1.1 – Make sure your website or software is parsed into a single data structure, making sure elements are nested properly and any IDs are unique.

[Level A] 4.1.2 – All of the user interface components names, roles and values can be programmed and notifications of the changes available to the user agents like assistive technology.

[Level AA] 4.1.3 – Create status messages that can be presented to the user by assistive technologies without being the focus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *