On 5 June 2018, WCAG 2.1 was published with a Recommendation status, which means it’s stable and ready for implementation. The new guidelines help fill gaps in WCAG 2.0 particularly in the areas of mobile, low vision, and cognitive disabilities.
The new guidelines are backwards compatible with 2.0 as the official W3C announcement by Andrew Kirkpatrick and Michael Cooper explains:
All the criteria from WCAG 2.0 are included in WCAG 2.1, so web sites that conform to WCAG 2.1 will also conform to WCAG 2.0.
Some aspects of digital accessibility can be straight-forward. But many are complex and can be subjective, especially when interpreting WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The following tweet is humorous because there’s a strong ring of truth to it—if you ask 10 accessibility specialists you will get 20 different answers.
Inconsistency in accessibility reporting can be a big problem in an organization and its employees. In the white paper A11Y Wars: The Accessibility Interpretation Problem, Glenda Sims (@goodwitch) and Wilco Fiers (@wilcofiers) do a deep dive into this issue. Topics in the paper include:
Summary of Findings
Causes of Interpretation Problems
Causes of WCAG 2.0 Interpretation Differences
Accessibility Peace Model
The paper proposes an “Accessibility Peace Model” which helps clearly define the perspective your organization is using for accessibility testing. This will reduce inconsistencies in accessibility testing and reduce the natural tension between the goals of users, designers, developers, testers, trainers, project managers, and executive employees. In turn, this will save much time, hassle, and ultimately lower costs.
The Accessibility Peace Model recognizes that there are different, equally valid, ways to use WCAG 2.0. To get consistent results, organisations should define with what perspective they want their tests to be done. This is by no means the only measure that needs to be taken to ensure consistency, but it does make discussions on interpretations significantly more effective.
When testing web accessibility, missing visual focus indicators is a “violation” of 2.4.7 Focus Visible. And when it fails, it also makes other checkpoints difficult to test (for sighted testers) such as focus order.
To get around this problem, here are a few tools to help force a visual indication of keyboard focus. Keep in mind that sometimes the tool doesn’t work, usually due to extremely poor markup and lack of keyboard access entirely.