The following is a free checklist/guide so that you can better understand what WCAG 2.0 AA is asking for.
Note 1: This is NOT official WCAG documentation but it is a non-technical quick summary (mostly) created to help you better understand what each success criterion is asking for.
Note 2: For the sake of brevity, many details and exceptions have been left out of this outline. This checklist is best used as a jumping off point for diving into each item in the official documentation.
Note 3: This guide DOES NOT include WCAG 2.1 or AAA conformance level.
Note 4: Section headings are not from WCAG. They are merely used to divide and organize the content.
Section 1: Alternatives
- Alt text (1.1.1): All images and non-text content needs alt text (there are exceptions)
- Video & Audio alternatives (1.2.1): All video-only and audio-only content has a text transcript. Transcripts are clearly labeled and linked below the media.
- Closed captioning (1.2.2): All video with sound contains accurate closed captioning.
- Audio description (1.2.3): For any video, add an alternative video that includes an audio description of information not presented in the original video’s soundtrack (exceptions) or include a text .
- Live captions (1.2.4): Any live video presentations must have closed captions.
- Audio description (1.2.5): An audio description is optional under 1.2.3 level A but not in 1.2.5 AA.
Section 2: Presentation
- Website structure (1.3.1): Use proper markup techniques to structure your website’s content (e.g. use correct heading tags and HTML for ordered and unordered lists)
- Meaningful order (1.3.2): Present content in a meaningful order and sequence so that it reads properly.
- Sensory characteristics (1.3.3): When providing detailed instructions, make it so they aren’t reliant on a single sensory ability.
- Use of color (1.4.1): Do not rely on color alone to convey information.
- Audio control (1.4.2): Any audio must be able to be paused, stopped, or muted.
- Color contrast (1.4.3): There must be a color contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 between all text and background.
- Text resize (1.4.4): Text must be able to be resized up to 200% without negatively affecting the ability to read content or use functions.
- Images of text (1.4.5): Do not use images of text unless necessary (e.g. logo).
Section 3: User Control
- Keyboard only (2.1.1): All content and functions on a website must be accessible by keyboard only (i.e. no mouse).
- No keyboard trap (2.1.2): Keyboard-only users must never get stuck on any part of the website; they must be able to navigate forwards and backwards.
- Adjustable time (2.2.1): If there any time limits on a website, users have the ability to turn it off, adjust it, extend it.
- Pause, stop, hide (2.2.2): If there is content that blinks, scrolls, moves, users must have the ability to pause, stop, or hide it.
- Three flashes or below (2.3.1): Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period.
- Skip navigation link (2.4.1): A “Skip to Content” or “Skip Navigation” link allows users to bypass the heading and go straight to the main content.
Section 4: Understandable
- Page titles (2.4.2): Each page of a website needs to have a unique and descriptive page title.
- Focus order (2.4.3): Users must be able to navigate through a website in a logical sequential order that preserves meaning.
- Link anchor text (2.4.4): The purpose of each link should be clear based on its anchor text (e.g. don’t use “click here”)
- Multiple ways (2.4.5): There are multiple ways to access different pages/information on a website (e.g. search bar, nav menus, sitemap, breadcrumbs, helpful links after content).
- Descriptive headings and labels (2.4.6): Headings and programmatic labels must be clear and descriptive. They do not need to be lengthy.
- Focus indicator (2.4.7): Any “user interface control” that receives focus from a keyboard user should indicate that focus on the current selected element (e.g. add a visible border around a text link).
- Website language (3.1.1): Set the language for your website.
- Language changes (3.1.2): Indicate any language changes for an entire page or within the content.
Section 5: Predictability
- No focus change (3.2.1): Nothing changes merely because an item receives focus; a user must actively choose to activate an item (e.g. hit enter to submit) before a change takes place.
- No input change (3.2.2): Nothing changes just because information is inputted into a field (e.g. form doesn’t auto submit once all fields are filled out).
- Consistent navigation (3.2.3): Keep navigation layout consistent throughout all pages of the website (e.g. same links in the same order).
- Consistent identification (3.2.4): Components that have the same function within a website are identified consistently (but not necessarily identically) (e.g. two check marks can indicate two different things as long as their function is different — one indicates “approved” on one page but “included” on another).
- Error identification (3.3.1): Make any form errors easy to identify, understand, and correct.
- Form labels and instructions (3.3.2): Programmatically label all form or input fields so that a user knows what input and what format is expected.
- Error suggestions (3.3.3): If an input error is automatically detected, then suggestions for correcting the error should be provided.
- Error prevention on important forms (3.3.4): For pages that create legal commitments or financial transactions or any other important data submissions, one of the following is true: 1) submissions are reversible, 2) the user has an opportunity to correct errors, and 3) confirmation is available that allows an opportunity to review and correct before submission.
- Parsing (4.1.1): Make sure HTML code is clean and free of errors, particularly missing bracket closes. Also, make sure all HTML elements are properly nested.
- Name, role, value (4.1.2): For all user interface components (including forms, links, components generated by scripts), the name, role, and value should all be able to be programmatically determined; make sure components are compatible with assistive technology.
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