New Web Accessibility Standards (WCAG 2.0) Finalized

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This post announces new rules for making web sites accessible. The rules are called WCAG 2.0. WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These rules help people make web sites that are easier for everyone to use.[Back to Introduction]

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On December 11, 2008, the World Wide Web Consortium announced new standards for accessible web content. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 were finalized after years of development and input from web designers, site owners, members of the disability community, WAI staff and volunteers, and countless others with a commitment to making the internet available to all users. Resources about the revised guidelines are provided at the end of this post.

The new guidelines supersede WCAG 1.0, the international standard that has been in effect since 1999. WCAG 1.0 was the standard used in many web accessibility settlement agreements reached using the Structured Negotiations process. According to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), WCAG 2.0, as compared to its predecessor, “applies broadly to more advanced technologies; is easier to use and understand; and is more precisely testable with automated testing and human evaluation.”

As part of the adoption process, the new guidelines had to be “road tested” on live web sites, and a report on the test results was issued by the Web Accessibility Initative in October, 2008. The website of the Law Office of Lainey Feingold was one of only two sites included in the report to meet the AAA conformance level of WCAG 2.0. Read the earlier post about the Web Accessibility Implementation Report

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is often quoted as saying “the power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” With the final adoption of WCAG 2.0 we are all that much closer to making this statement a reality.

Resources for understanding WCAG 2.0