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What’s new in WCAG 2.2?

A guide to the next Web Content Accessibility Guidelines release (WCAG 2.2).

Grant Broome

Founder and Director of Dig Inclusion, Grant has audited hundreds of websites over a 20 year career in accessibility. He has helped many organisations gain a better understanding of accessible design and provide more inclusive content to their customers

When is it coming out?

Originally due for release in April 2023, WCAG 2.2 is now scheduled for release in Q3 of 2023. So we expect it to land sometime before October.

What’s changed from 2.1?

Not a massive amount actually. In fact the majority of 2.1 criteria are word-for-word exactly the same. The only change in the existing criteria is that 4.1.1 Parsing – the term used for making sure that code is compatible with assistive technologies has been removed. The thinking behind this is that assistive technologies are no longer reliant on reading HTML code directly, instead they gather accessibility information from the browser and therefore don’t need it to be perfect so it is now obsolete.

The other changes are a handful of new criteria:

2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (AA)

If a user moves focus to a focusable object, like a link or a button, this criteria ensures that they can see it. So for example, if there is a sticky banner on a page such as a cookie notification and this completely covers a link that a keyboard-user is trying to reach, then this would constitute a failure of this criteria.

2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) (Level AAA)

This is very similar to the previous criteria except that where 2.4.11 allows a partial obstruction as long as the highlighted link can be seen, this criteria states that the focused content must be entirely visible.

2.4.13 Focus Appearance (AAA)

WCAG 2.1 had criteria around focus appearance that helped people who use keyboard commands to navigate the page. This new criteria enhances the requirement and makes sure that the focus appearance is more pronounced, and introduces requirements for contrast between the default state and the focused state.

2.5.7 Dragging Movements (AA)

This criteria provides requirements for dragging content from one location to another on the screen. The movement must be possible for keyboard users or people who have difficulty holding down a mouse button while dragging.

2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) (AA)

Small clickable targets can be very difficult for people with mobility issues such as tremors to navigate. It’s easy for people to miss small targets or click on a nearby target that they didn’t intend to activate. There is now a minimum target size of 24 x 24 pixels for all focusable objects.

3.2.6 Consistent Help (A)

This is a really nice addition to the criteria that will offer a lot of practical support to people with cognitive disabilities. It introduces a requirement for people to be able to access help and support easily when they are completing a task. This requirement can be met through providing an easy-to-find chat feature, FAQ page, or a contact number. The help feature must be consistently placed on the page so that the user always knows where to look for it.

3.3.7 Redundant Entry (A)

This is what the criteria says:

Information previously entered by or provided to the user that is required to be entered again in the same process is either:

auto-populated, or

available for the user to select.

This criteria is designed to help people with cognitive disabilities complete a long application process without having to re-enter data that they’ve already entered.

3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum) (AA)

Lots of people have difficulty remembering passwords. This criteria helps users by providing an alternative process such as receiving an email link or solving a recognition puzzle to get into an application.

3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (Enhanced) (AAA)

This criteria goes a step further and makes it so that no cognitive function test is required to log into an application (such as solving a puzzle).

If you need help to make sense of any of these criteria, drop us a line on hello@nilehq.com.

We can offer a briefing lunch and learn, an audit or a re-test of existing websites and applications.