Specific Changes in WCAG 2.2

Published May 11, 2023

Version 2.2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is scheduled for publication in May 2023. According to Knowbility, the update aims to "extend WCAG's layers of guidance by adding new success criteria focused on making web content more accessible and understandable." 

WCAG, since its creation in 1999, has been updated three times, with version 2.2 being the fourth update. Each update has expanded on digital accessibility standards and guidance to serve better the needs of people with disabilities who use the Internet. So what’s different with version 2.2?

Changes

Though version 2.2 is not yet released, the draft alludes to several changes in 2.2 while keeping all criteria from 2.1. These changes have been made to improve web content for people with disabilities and include:

  • Accessible Authentication. Under this success criteria, a cognitive function test (remembering a password, solving a puzzle) is not required for authentication, or logging into a site, unless that step provides at least one of the following:
    • An alternative authentication method
    • Assistance with the authentication method
    • The cognitive function test recognizes objects or non-text content that the user previously provided to the website.
  • Consistent Help. This success criterion states that if a web page has the following help options, and if those options repeat on other pages, they must repeat in the same order unless the user changes the order themselves. 
    • Human contact details
    • Human contact mechanism
    • Self-help option
    • Fully-automated mechanism
  • Dragging Movements. 2.2 will state that a single pointer can achieve any website function that uses dragging movements without dragging. Exceptions are if the dragging is essential or if the user chooses to use dragging. This requirement only applies to web content itself, not assistive technology.
  • Focus Appearance. For this success criterion, when the focus indicator, or a visual that shows when a user is in a focused state, is visible, one or both of the following must be true. 
    • The focus indicator meets all of the following:
      • encloses the user interface component/subcomponent, and
      • has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 between the same pixels in a focused and unfocused state, and
      • has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against adjacent non-focus-indicator colors.
    • An area of the focus indicator meets all of the following:
      • is at least as large as one CSS pixel thick perimeter of the unfocused component/subcomponent, or at least as large as a 4 CSS pixel wide line along the shortest side of the minimum bounding box of the unfocused component/subcomponent, and
      • has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 between the same pixels in a focused and unfocused state, and
      • has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against adjacent non-focus-indicator colors or is no thinner than 2 CSS pixels.

A user-determined focus indicator is the only exception, which cannot be changed. Whatever the user chooses takes priority. 

  • Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced). In this success criteria, when the keyboard focus is on, no part of it can be hidden by web author-created content, such as ads or other popups. The objective is to allow everyone on the website to fully access the content without being distracted by assistive technology.
  • Focus Not Obscured (Minimum). This success criterion states that keyboard focus can’t be partially hidden by web author-created content, such as ads or other popups when keyboard focus is on. This is for the same reason as above. 
  • Redundant Entry. 2.2 states that information previously provided to a website, like that in filling out forms, that must be entered again in the same process must be either auto-filled or able to be selected to be auto-filled. The only exceptions are when re-entering this information is essential, or a matter of security, like with Social Security Numbers, or the information is no longer valid, like temporary passwords.
  • Target Size (Minimum). This success criterion in 2.2 states that the target size, or part of the display where you point and click the mouse, must be at least 24 by 24 CSS pixels. The only exceptions to this rule are the following:
    • The target stands alone and doesn’t overlap any other target and also has an offset of at least 24 CSS pixels to every adjacent target
    • An equivalent control on the same page fits this need
    • The target is constrained by size, such as in a list or in text
    • The target must be presented a certain way legally or is essential for some other reason
    • The size of the target is generated solely by the user. As always, what the user chooses takes priority.

Conclusion

Though WCAG 2.2 will be released in May 2023, we can already understand the changes by looking at the draft. All criteria from previous versions will still be in place, with the updates aiming to expand guidance on digital accessibility further. Looking over the draft will give you a better idea of how to get ahead of staying compliant with version 2.2.

 

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