Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version (WCAG) 2.0

Are you in the loop on this? The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) has been approved by the W3C. With it, comes discussion among W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative about what’s new with these guidelines as well as the resources that will be available for web developers and designers.

After months of collecting thousands of individual comments from hundreds of sources around the world during the development of WCAG 2.0., the final guidelines have been published.

So What is New?

Compared to version 1.0, this shiny and new version brings guidelines that can be applied to any technology used on the Web. It's more flexible for developers and allows persons with disabilities and the aging to browse the Web more openly than before.

Version 2.0 has been tested successfully and precisely among a broader range of Web technologies, languages, and types of Web sites, which makes it more relevant to the web, than ever before. In fact, it's expected to become the unifying standard for Web content accessibility. And best yet, it will include extensive technical materials to support developers' needs for proven design approaches, but allow them the freedom to collaborate and innovate.

Why Do You Care?

Not only can these new guidelines help the business community reach more of their market and avoid legal challenges resulting from inaccessible Web sites, but it will aim to simplify the accessibility standard so as to reduce conflicting requirements on businesses. Government entities, in particular will be enable to deliver information and services in a way that doesn't discriminate based on ability.

Though these guidelines are bound to have the greatest impact the disabled, it will also affect the activity on the Web, in general, as it allows more users to fully interact online.

What's Next?

Overall, these guidelines will help developers design state-of-the-art Web sites that are accessible and that perform better, without limiting future innovation. Because of the time spent making these guidelines compatible with evolving Web technologies, Judy Brewer, Director W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative, expects "it to be a stable resource for some time into the future."

In addition, she notes that work has already begun on advanced versions of two guidelines that are complementary to WCAG 2.0. – the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0, which addresses accessibility of browsers and media players, and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0, which addresses the important issue of how software can actively support production of accessible Web content.

You can learn more via the extensive libraries of educational materials, which explain the advantages of accessibility The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at www.w3.org/WAI/. In addition, you can submit comments, feedback and questions by joining the self-subscription list.