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Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design Glasgow for The Third Sector, Voluntary, Charities and Not for Profits

Accessible, Responsive Website Design
Jim Byrne Web Designer

WCAG 2.1 Guidelines Explained

Published: April 12, 2022

A history lesson: where did the website accessibility guidelines come from and what’s in them?

  • 1995: The first web accessibility guidelines were compiled by Gregg Vanderheiden shortly after the 1995 Chicago WWW II Conference.
  • 1998: University of Wisconsin–Madison compiled the Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines.
  • 1999: they formed the basis for WCAG 1.0.

WCAG 1.0. were focused on HTML and web pages.

  • 14 guidelines.
  • 65 checkpoints.
  • Each with a priority level: A, AA. AAA.

A Compliance: the guidelines must be satisfied otherwise it will be impossible for one or more groups to access the Web content.

AA Compliance: should be satisfied, otherwise some groups will find it difficult to access the Web content.

AAA Compliance: may be satisfied: to make it easier for some groups to access the Web content.

14 WCAG 1 Guidelines

  • Guideline 1: Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
  • Guideline 2: Don’t rely on colour alone.
  • Guideline 3: Use markup and style sheets, and do so properly.
  • Guideline 4: Clarify natural language usage.
  • Guideline 5: Create tables that transform gracefully.
  • Guideline 6: Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.
  • Guideline 7: Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.
  • Guideline 8: Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.
  • Guideline 9: Design for device independence.
  • Guideline 10: Use interim solutions.
  • Guideline 11: Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
  • Guideline 12: Provide context and orientation information.
  • Guideline 13: Provide clear navigation mechanisms.
  • Guideline 14: Ensure that documents are clear and simple.

WCAG 2 – Published 2008

Not just websites, but also PDF, Google Docs, Spreadsheets, e-Books… and other ‘digital assets’.

WCAG 2.1 – Published 2018

  • WCAG 2.1 does not deprecate or supersede WCAG 2.0.
  • The differences between WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 are mostly related to the use of tablets and mobile devices.
  • They are designed to make content more accessible to a wider range of people, including accommodations for blindness and low vision.

WCAG 2.1 Based on 4 Principles

  • Perceivable.
  • Operable.
  • Understandable.
  • Robust

What principles?

  • Perceivable?
  • Operable?
  • Understandable?
  • Robust?

What do the principles mean?

Perceivable

WCAG speak: information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

Jim speak: the site visitor must be able to recognise that the content exists. For example, by being able to see it, hear it or touch it.

Operable

  • WCAG speak: user interface components and navigation must be operable.
  • Jim speak: the site visitor must be able to navigate around the site and use the features and functions presented.

Understandable

  • WCAG speak: information and the operation of user interfaces must be understandable.
  • Jim speak: not only should visitors be able to recognise the existence of the content and be able to interact with it, but they must also be able to understand it.

Robust

  • WCAG speak: content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
  • Jim speak: it must be possible to access the content using everything from a text-only web browser to the latest Firefox browser. And everything in between, including screen readers and all the different brands and versions of browsers now available.

Each Principle Has A Set Of Guidelines

1. Perceivable: the guidelines relate to:

  • Text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Content can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.

Operable: the guideline Relate To:

  • Ensuring functionality is available for keyboard users.
  • Giving users enough time to read and use content.
  • Avoiding content that causes seizures or physical reactions.
  • Help users navigate and find content.
  • Making it easier to use inputs other than by keyboard.

Understandable: the guideline Relate To:

  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Robust: the guideline Relate To:

  • Maximising compatibility with current and future user tools.
  • For example, by using valid code.

For Each Principle

There are guidelines – these are the basic goals that authors should work toward in order to make content more accessible.

And For Each Guideline

Ther are ‘testable success criteria’.

  • Three levels of conformance are defined as: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest).
  • Techniques and examples are provided for meeting those criteria.

Mobile Platforms

  • All ‘success criteria’ apply to mobile platforms as well as desktop platforms.
  • However, the techniques sections does not yet fully cover mobile techniques.

Jim Byrne

Case Study: A New Website for British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA)

Published: August 8, 2014

British Disabled Angling new website
The British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA) needed a website to provide a ‘one stop shop of information and advice’ for disabled and non-disabled anglers. The BDDA provide individual and group coaching, a fisheries directory and access audits of fisheries among other services.

The old site was cluttered and difficult to use, so before starting design work we spent a lot of time thinking and talking about how to best serve the needs of current and potential members. This resulted in a clear, clean layout and a very simple navigation scheme.

The site made use of the hundreds of existing BDDA photographs; to give a friendly, ‘human’ feel to each page. We also subtly redesigned the logo to fit with the new template design.

The redesign incorporated new features such as the mailing list, the accessibility toolbar and a feature for collecting donations.

Contact us now to talk about your new website

Client feedback

Thank you. Such small words to express the meaning of what you have achieved for us. Our charity scoured the myriad of adverts offering accessible website designs; but which one, at what cost, a series of never ending questions, search after search.

One name Jim Byrne kept appearing, not in the form of advertisement and promises, but praise for the work he does in development, design and tutorials on accessible website design.

We are so pleased that we followed what everyone else was recommending Jim Byrne – Accessible Web Design" our new website is a landmark for us, and an example to angling clubs, businesses and local authorities who encourage disabled visitors to their website.

Jim, you are not only professional in what you do, but offer friendly and constructive advice and patience throughout the build. Thank you simply isn’t enough.

Best regards
Terry Moseley
President
British Disabled Angling Association

I was also very pleased to get the following email from Terry:

Hi Jim,

We all realise the amount of work that you have dedicated to this project, and the barrage of emails that arrive daily to your inbox from me, you must have the "patience of Job". On behalf of the trustees I would like to offer our sincere thanks for all the hard work and support for the charity.

Terry

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“The audit was extremely comprehensive, clear and demonstrated Jim’s expertise in the area of accessible web design.” Peter Madden, Project Manager, Sealed Envelope Ltd