- Principle 1 – Perceivable
- Principle 2 – Operable
- Principle 3 – Understandable
- Principle 4 – Robust
The WCAG is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation for ensuring that people with disabilities can use your software. In other words, these are the industry standards (and now the US federal standards) for an accessible website.
The WCAG guidelines are broken into four principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. Each principle offers guidelines – basic goals that websites should strive toward. Each guideline has multiple examples of success criteria. These criteria are graded at three levels of conformance: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). Section 508 requires at least A and AA conformance.
For each set of guidelines and success criteria, the WCAG also provides documented techniques for meeting the guidelines.
The goal of this list is not to recreate what the WCAG has already done. It is to document a way to test websites for accessibility that’s more detailed than what I can generally find online. It’s to give me (and anyone else reading) something to build a plan off of.
And yes, I’m probably reinventing the wheel.
(Note: I’m not a trained tester so a lot of this is me winging it. Add comments for suggestions on individual items I could do better.)
Principle 1 – Perceivable
Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
Guideline 1.1 – Text Alternatives
Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
Guideline 1.2 – Time-based Media
Provide alternatives for time-based media.
- 1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded) – Level A
- 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) – Level A
- 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded) – Level A
- 1.2.4 Captions (Live) – Level AA
- 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded) – Level AA
- 1.2.6 Sign Language (Prerecorded) – Level AAA
- 1.2.7 Extended Audio Description (Prerecorded) – Level AAA
- 1.2.8 Media Alternative (Prerecorded) – Level AAA
- 1.2.9 Audio-only (Live) – Level AAA
Guideline 1.3 – Adaptable
Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
- 1.3.1 Information and Relationships – Level A
- 1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence – Level A
- 1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics – Level A
- 1.3.4 Orientation – Level A
- 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose – Level AA
- 1.3.6 Identify Purpose – Level AAA
Guideline 1.4 – Distinguishable
Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
- 1.4.1 Use of Color – Level A
- 1.4.2 Audio Control – Level A
- 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum) – Level AA
- 1.4.4 Resize Text – Level AA
- 1.4.5 Images of Text – Level AA
- 1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced) – Level AAA
- 1.4.7 Low or No Background Audio – Level AAA
- 1.4.8 Visual Presentation – Level AAA
- 1.4.9 Images of Text (No Exception) – Level AAA
- 1.4.10 Reflow – Level AA
- 1.4.11 Non-Text Contrast – Level AA
- 1.4.12 Text Spacing – Level AA
- 1.4.13 Content on Hover or Focus – Level AA
Principle 2 – Operable
User interface components and navigation must be operable.
Guideline 2.1 – Keyboard Accessible
Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- 2.1.1 Keyboard – Level A
- 2.1.2 No Keyboard Trap – Level A
- 2.1.3 Keyboard (No Exceptions) – Level AAA
- 2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts – Level A
Guideline 2.2 – Enough Time
Provide users enough time to read and use content.
- 2.2.1 Timing Adjustable – Level A
- 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide – Level A
- 2.2.3 No Timing – Level AA
- 2.2.4 Interruptions – Level AAA
- 2.2.5 Re-authenticating – Level AAA
- 2.2.6 Timeouts – Level AAA
Guideline 2.3 – Seizures
Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
- 2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold
- 2.3.2 Three Flashes – Level AAA
- 2.3.3 Animation from Interactions – Level AAA
Guideline 2.4 – Navigable
Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
- 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks – Level A
- 2.4.2 Page Titled – Level A
- 2.4.3 Focus Order – Level A
- 2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context) – Level A
- 2.4.5 Multiple Ways – Level AA
- 2.4.6 Headings and Labels – Level AA
- 2.4.7 Focus Visible – Level AA
- 2.4.8 Location – Level AAA
- 2.4.9 Link Purpose (Link Only)
- 2.4.10 Identify Input Purpose – Level AAA
Guideline 2.5 Input Modalities
Make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond keyboard.
- 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures – Level A
- 2.5.2 Pointer Cancellation – Level A
- 2.5.3 Label in Name – Level A
- 2.5.4 Motion Actuation – Level A
- 2.5.5 Target Size – Level AAA
- 2.5.6 Concurrent Input Mechanisms – Level AAA
Principle 3 – Understandable
Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
Guideline 3.1 – Readable
Make text content readable and understandable.
- 3.1.1 Language of Page – Level A
- 3.1.2 Language of Parts – Level AA
- 3.1.3 Unusual Words – Level AAA
- 3.1.4 Abbreviations – Level AAA
- 3.1.5 Reading Level – Level AAA
- 3.1.6 Pronunciation – Level AAA
Guideline 3.2 – Predictable
Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
- 3.2.1 On Focus – Level A
- 3.2.2 On Input – Level A
- 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation – Level AA
- 3.2.4 Consistent Identification – Level AA
- 3.2.5 Change on Request – Level AAA
Guideline 3.3 – Input Assistance
Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- 3.3.1 Error Identification – Level A
- 3.3.2 Labels or Instructions – Level A
- 3.3.3 Error Suggestion – Level AA
- 3.3.4 Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data) – Level AA
- 3.3.5 Help – Level AAA
- 3.3.6 Error Prevention (All) – Level AAA
Principle 4 – Robust
Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
Guideline 4.1 – Compatible
Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.