Accessibility Guidelines: What’s new in WCAG 2.2?

What’s new in WCAG 2.2

The W3C is working on the next, and possibly last, 2.x version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). On 11 August 2020 a Working Draft of WCAG 2.2 was released for public comment.

As a W3C Working Draft, WCAG 2.2 is still a work in progress. It will almost certainly change before it becomes an official W3C Recommendation, but publishing periodic Working Drafts for public comment and review is part of W3C’s Process.

What do we know so far?

Based on the 11 August Working Draft, WCAG 2.2 introduces 9 new Success Criteria (SC), and upgrades 1 SC.

New Level A SC

There are 4 new Level A SC in WCAG 2.2:

2.4.1 Fixed Reference Points

When a web page or set of web pages is an electronic publication with pagebreak locators, a mechanism is available to navigate to each locator and each locator maintains its place in the flow of content, even when the formatting or platform change.

3.2.6 Findable Help

For single page Web applications or any set of Web pages, if one of the following is available, then access to at least one option is included in the same relative order on each page:

  • Human contact details;

  • Human contact mechanism;

  • Self-help option;

  • A fully automated contact mechanism.

3.3.7 Accessible Authentication

If an authentication process relies on a cognitive function test, at least one other method must also be available that does not rely on a cognitive function test.

3.3.8 Redundant Entry

For steps in a process, information previously entered by or provided to the user that is required on subsequent steps is either:

  • auto-populated, or

  • available for the user to select.

New Level AA SC

There are 4 new SC at Level AA in WCAG 2.2:

2.4.11 Focus Appearance (Minimum)

For the keyboard focus indicator of each User Interface Component, all of the following are true:

  • Minimum area: The focus indication area is greater than or equal to a 1 CSS pixel border of the focused control, or has a thickness of at least 8 CSS pixels along the shortest side of the element.

  • Change of contrast: The color change for the focus indication area has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 with the colors of the unfocused state.

  • Adjacent contrast: The focus indication area has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against all adjacent colors for the minimum area or greater, or has a thickness of at least 2 CSS pixels.

  • Unobscured: The item with focus is not entirely hidden by author-created content.

2.5.7 Dragging

All functionality that uses a dragging movement for operation can be operated by a single pointer without dragging, unless dragging is essential.

2.5.8 Pointer Target Spacing

For each target, there is an area with a width and height of at least 44 CSS pixels that includes it, and no other targets, except when:

  • Enlarge: A mechanism is available to change the CSS pixel size of each target, or its spacing, so there is an area with a width and height of at least 44 CSS pixels that includes it, and no other targets;

  • Inline: The target is in a sentence or block of text;

  • User agent: The size of the target is controlled by the user agent and is not modified by the author;

  • Essential: A particular presentation of the target is essential to the information being conveyed.

3.2.7 Hidden Controls

Controls needed to progress or complete a process are visible at the time they are needed without requiring pointer hover or keyboard focus, or a mechanism is available to make them persistently visible.

New Level AAA SC

There is 1 new SC at Level AAA in WCAG 2.2:

2.4.12 Focus Appearance (Enhanced)

For the keyboard focus indicator of each User Interface Component, all of the following are true:

  • Minimum area: The focus indication area is greater than or equal to a 2 CSS pixel solid border around the control.

  • Change of contrast: Color changes used to indicate focus have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 with the colors changed from the unfocused control.

  • Unobscured: No part of the focus indicator is hidden by author-created content.

Upgraded SC

SC 2.4.7 Is a Level AA SC under WCAG 2.1 but has been upgraded to Level A in WCAG 2.2.

Success Criterion 2.4.7 Focus Visible

Any keyboard operable user interface has a mode of operation where the keyboard focus indicator is visible.

What’s coming next?

The WCAG 2.2 Editors Draft is where changes are made before being approved by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group. Editors Drafts are not stable but they do offer a glimpse of what may be coming in WCAG 2.2.

The WCAG 2.2 Working Draft is updated whenever the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group approves a set of changes. Although not completely stable, a Working Draft contains changes that have undergone peer review by the Working Group, so they are more settled than those in the Editors Draft.

Ultimately, WCAG 2.2 will become a Candidate Recommendation and then a Recommendation, and this is the point at which WCAG 2.2 becomes an official W3C standard and can no longer be changed.

In the meantime you can file issues and comment on discussions in the WCAG 2.2 Github repository, or send your comments to the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group by email.

Accessibility Guidelines: What’s new in WCAG 2.2?

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