What is web accessibility – desktop guidelines

If you’ve been asked to look at the different guidelines for web accessibility it can get very confusing, the World Wide Web is exactly that, World Wide, yet depending on where you are there are different guidelines you need to be aware of, all of the guidelines are pan-disability, so you shouldn’t need to do one thing for blind people, another for deaf – by following these guidelines you will make your website the most accessible for as many people as possible.

The W3C have written guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) There are different versions of this, originally the guidelines were WCAG 1.0 however these have been updated and are now WCAG 2.0. Within WCAG 2.0 there are 3 levels.

  • A is the basic level
  • AA is what the majority of people aim for and is the standard all Government and Local Authorities must meet
  • AAA The highest level of accessibility

The majority of our customers do ask us to test to WCAG 2.0 AA for all desktop testing. There are some important elements that we believe set us apart from others in our testing and that is our ability to test the PDFs on a website. The key word is ‘Content’ in WCAG, as well as checking your web pages meet the standard you also need to know any information someone may download is accessible.

The WCAG guidelines are widely used and adopted across the world, there is also the British Standard BS 8878:2010, Web accessibility code of practice and in the US Section 508. Knowing who your customer can determine what guideline you use. The Department Of Transport in the US has stated all travel websites must be Section 508 compliant, this means a UK airline traveling to the US must ensure their website meets the Section 508 guidelines, we’re currently working with a major UK airline to do just this for them.

Update to blog post September 2018 – WCAG 2.1

Please note that WCAG 2.0 has been updated and replaced with WCAG 2.1. The three levels remain the same, A, AA and AAA. Our blog post details the changes What is WCAG 2.1