WCAG Checklist 2.1 AA and 2.2 AA

Kris’s WCAG Checklists are 100% free to download with no email subscription required.

Below you will find downloadable PDF checklists for WCAG 2.1 AA and 2.2 AA along with the text version of each checklist on this page (WCAG 2.0 AA is included in 2.1).

Written in plain English, Kris Rivenburgh explains the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in easy to understand terms, with examples and illustrations to help readers learn each WCAG success criterion.

Kris provides two PDF documents for learning WCAG: a checklist and a full guide.

The checklist PDFs contain quick summaries for each WCAG success criterion. The guides greatly expand upon the checklists to provide fuller, more detailed explanations.

WCAG 2.1 AA conformance is a best practice for compliance with the law.

Reader Note: For mobile viewing, this page displays best on landscape orientation because there are tables that include longer success criteria.

WCAG 2.1 AA Checklist

PDFs

WCAG 2.1 AA Checklist (PDF)

WCAG 2.1 AA Guide (PDF)

Note that WCAG 2.1 AA includes WCAG 2.0 AA (38 success criteria) + 12 additional AA success criteria added in version 2.1 for a total of 50 success criteria or requirements.

Each PDF contains important disclaimers, copyright, and attribution information.

WCAG 2.0 AA Success Criteria

WCAG 2.0 AA Checklist
Success Criterion Accessibility Requirement Role(s)
1.1.1 All images and non-text content must have a text alternative. Developer, Content Editor
1.2.1 All video-only and audio-only content must have a text transcript, labeled and accessible. Content Editor
1.2.2 All videos with sound must have closed captioning. Content Editor
1.2.3 Videos must have transcripts or audio descriptions if necessary information isn’t audible. Content Editor
1.2.4 Formal live presentations must have closed captions. Content Editor
1.2.5 Audio descriptions are required, providing both transcripts and audio descriptions is best. Content Editor
1.3.1 Use proper HTML markup to structure content programmatically accessible. Developer, Content Editor
1.3.2 Present content in a meaningful sequence for readability. Developer
1.3.3 Instructions should not rely on a single sensory ability. Content Editor
1.4.1 Do not use color alone to convey information. Designer, Content Editor
1.4.2 Provide controls to pause, stop, or mute audio. Developer
1.4.3 Ensure color contrast ratios meet minimum requirements. Designer
1.4.4 Text must be able to be resized up to 200% without loss of content or functionality. Designer
1.4.5 Do not use images of text unless necessary (e.g., logo). Designer, Content Editor
2.1.1 All functionality of the website must be accessible by keyboard only, without requiring a mouse. Developer
2.1.2 Keyboard-only users must be able to navigate through the website without getting stuck. Developer
2.2.1 If there are any time limits on the website, users must have the ability to turn them off, adjust, or extend them. Developer
2.2.2 If content blinks, scrolls, or moves, users must have the ability to pause, stop, or hide it. Designer, Developer, Content Editor
2.3.1 Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period. Designer, Content Editor
2.4.1 A “Skip to Content” or similar link allows users to bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple pages. Developer, Designer
2.4.2 Each page of a website needs to have a unique and descriptive title. Content Editor
2.4.3 Users must be able to navigate through the website in a logical order that preserves meaning. Developer
2.4.4 The purpose of each link should be clear from its anchor text. Content Editor
2.4.5 There must be multiple ways to find different pages and content on a website. Designer
2.4.6 Headings and labels must be clear and descriptive. Content Editor
2.4.7 Any user interface control that receives focus from a keyboard user should have a visible focus indicator. Designer
3.1.1 Set the language of your website programmatically to aid user agents and assistive technologies. Developer
3.1.2 Indicate any language changes within the content or for the entire page. Content Editor
3.2.1 No context changes should occur merely because an item receives focus. Developer, Designer
3.2.2 User interface changes should not automatically occur due to user input without a warning. Developer
3.2.3 Keep navigation links and layout consistent throughout all pages of the website. Designer
3.2.4 Components that have the same function within a website are consistently identified. Developer, Designer
3.3.1 Make any form errors easy to identify, understand, and correct. Developer, Designer
3.3.2 Provide clear visual and programmatic labels or instructions for user input fields. Developer
3.3.3 If an input error is automatically detected, then suggestions for correcting the error should be provided. Developer
3.3.4 For pages that create legal commitments or financial transactions, ensure that submissions are reversible, errors can be corrected, and confirmation is available before submission. Developer
4.1.1 Ensure HTML code is clean and free of errors. All HTML elements must be properly nested and closed. Developer
4.1.2 For all user interface components, ensure the name, role, state, and value can be programmatically determined. Developer

WCAG 2.1 AA Success Criteria

Note: 2.1 AA includes all of the preceding 2.0 AA success criteria plus the 12 additional success
criteria added in 2.1.

WCAG 2.1 AA Checklist
Success Criterion Accessibility Requirement Role(s)
1.3.4 Your website does not lock on portrait or landscape mode, unless necessary. Developer
1.3.5 The purpose of an input element can be determined so browsers and assistive technology can help guide and facilitate inputting information (e.g., provide autocomplete option). Developer
1.4.10 Ensure someone can zoom in on your website without requiring scrolling or causing poor experience. Designer
1.4.11 All meaningful non-text content (e.g., buttons, form fields, icons) on your website should have a minimum 3:1 color contrast ratio to ensure they stand out. Designer
1.4.12 Make sure your text spacing can be adjusted without causing a poor experience. Designer
1.4.13 Make it so any additional content (e.g., pop-ups, submenus) can be dismissed or remain visible if the user desires. Designer, Developer
2.1.4 If you have a keyboard shortcut, make sure a user can either 1) turn it off, 2) there’s a way to add another key in the shortcut, and/or 3) have the shortcut only active while focusing on a specific component. Developer
2.5.1 Provide simple alternatives (e.g., single tap vs. swipe) to potentially complex finger motions on touch screens. Developer
2.5.2 Provide a way to cancel the trigger action when you activate a function using a mouse or press/touch with your finger. Developer
2.5.3 Make sure any programmatic labels you make are aligned with the corresponding visual text. Developer
2.5.4 For any functions that are activated by motion, provide a simpler, alternative means of action. Also, give users the option to turn off motion activation. Developer
4.1.3 When a status message appears, it should be coded with role or properties so that people using assistive technologies (e.g., screen readers) are alerted without losing focus. Developer

WCAG 2.2 AA Checklist

PDFs

WCAG 2.2 AA Checklist (PDF)

WCAG 2.2 AA Guide (PDF)

Each PDF contains important disclaimers, copyright, and attribution information.

WCAG 2.2 AA Success Criteria

WCAG 2.2 AA Checklist
Success Criterion Accessibility Requirement Role(s)
2.4.11 When an element receives focus, ensure it is not completely hidden or blocked by other content, such as sticky headers or footers. Developer, Designer
2.5.7 For functions requiring a dragging movement, provide an alternative using a single point (click or touch) to accomplish the task. Developer
2.5.8 Ensure the target size for interactive elements is at least 24 by 24 CSS pixels, with specified exceptions. Designer
3.2.6 Help options such as support links, contact information, or chatbots should remain consistent and predictable on multiple pages. Content Editor, Designer
3.3.7 Auto-populate or make selectable previously entered information within the same session unless re-entry is essential. Developer
3.3.8 Ensure users can authenticate without solely relying on memory or cognitive tests, offering alternative methods or assistance. Developer

You can make learning WCAG even easier and faster by taking the on-demand course from Kris.

WCAG Course

Save 20+ hours with the WCAG Course. The WCAG Course is beginner friendly and makes learning the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as easy and as simple as possible. The WCAG Course includes:

  • Video and text lessons
  • Plain English explanations
  • Curated resources
  • Accessibility workflows based on role
  • Modules for each version
  • Sortable Excel spreadsheet checklist
  • WCAG in Chunks cheatsheet
  • Certificate upon course completion

Everything you need to learn WCAG is inside the course.

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wcag checklist in excel spreadsheet format with columns for action and role

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What is WCAG?

Blind man in front of computer.

WCAG stands for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines are technical standards for web accessibility that bring about consistency and uniformity in how we make web content accessible. Developed by the W3C, WCAG helps ensure websites and online platforms are usable by people of all abilities.

Versions

There are multiple versions and conformance levels of WCAG. The versions are:

  • 1.0
  • 2.0
  • 2.1
  • 2.2

Think of 2.0 as the classic standard. It was released in 2008. 2.0 establishes a solid baseline for accessibility, providing foundational guidelines that address a wide range of disabilities. This version is key for ensuring that websites are usable and understandable by people with various impairments.

2.1 was released in 2018 and added additional considerations for the increase in mobile device usage. This update brought enhancements that improved accessibility on touch interfaces, small screens, and for users with low vision.

2.2 is now the current version and was only just released in October 2023. This latest edition continues to refine the guidelines, addressing emerging technologies and additional user needs to enhance digital accessibility further.

Conformance Levels

No matter which version, each is comprised of different success criteria or requirements for conformance that are categorized under different conformance levels.

The conformance levels are:

  • A
  • AA
  • AAA

Level A criteria lay the essential foundation for accessible content. Level AA criteria are also extremely important and build upon the Level A foundation. Level AAA criteria adhere to the most rigorous standards, offering the highest level of accessibility.

WCAG is frequently cited around the world and while WCAG is never the law, it has been incorporated into several laws including Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and the European Accessibility Act.

WCAG is also commonly referenced in website accessibility litigation centered around the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Success Criteria

Think of success criteria as things you can do to improve accessibility. Many people are familiar with accessibility considerations such as:

  • alternative text
  • form field labels
  • keyboard navigability
  • color contrast
  • zoom
  • skip link
  • page regions

And many more.

These considerations are a part of the fabric of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Some are essentially success criteria themselves while others may be considered sufficient techniques for conformance or advisory techniques that enhance or optimize accessibility.

Backwards Compatible

A key feature of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is that the versions and conformance levels are backwards compatible. This means that new versions of the guidelines build upon previous versions, rather than undoing them.

This also means that when a new version is released, such as going from WCAG 2.0 to WCAG 2.1, the core requirements remain intact, and only new criteria are added. For example, WCAG 2.1 AA includes all the success criteria from WCAG 2.0 (38) and introduces 12 additional success criteria to address accessibility considerations in newer technology, including considerations for mobile devices.

This backwards compatibility ensures that conformance efforts made for earlier versions are not undone and ensuring stability no matter what version is being used.

Further, the same backwards compatibility concept applies to conformance levels; each success conformance level includes the success criteria in the previous conformance level.

Digital Accessibility

Although WCAG is specifically for web assets (they are literally the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), the principles and concepts that comprise WCAG usually apply to other digital assets including mobile apps, software, virtual applications, platforms, and more.

While WCAG was written for the web, its core principles — perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust (POUR) — are just as relevant to non-web assets. For example:

  • Software developers can use WCAG principles for software applications to enhance keyboard navigability, ensure that visual content is easily perceivable, and provide alternatives for auditory content.
  • Mobile app designers can apply WCAG guidelines to create user interfaces that support accessibility features like text-to-speech, as well as ensuring sufficient color contrast and touch target sizes.
  • In virtual environments, accessibility can be addressed by implementing customizable interfaces for different needs, providing clear navigation cues, and maintaining consistent layouts.

However, applying WCAG to non-web assets requires adaptation and thus extra attention must be paid when making non-web assets WCAG conformant. We see this come up with VPATs / ACRs.

Compliance

WCAG has been incorporated into many laws across the world and even where WCAG is not adopted, full WCAG 2.1 AA conformance is always a best practice for compliance.

Laws that have incorporated WCAG include:

Learn more about accessibility and the law in our complete ADA Website Compliance guide.

Live WCAG Training and Workshops

If you have a question about WCAG, would like to set up a live training presentation or workshop for your organization, feel free to contact us. We’d love to help your digital team learn about the fundamentals of accessibility.

Visit the Accessible.org homepage to learn more about our done-for-you approach to website accessibility and ADA compliance.