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WCAG 2.2 - What's New

NOTE
Since this article was published, the W3C has made the following changes to WCAG 2.2:

Changes from the January 2023 CR to the May 2023 CR include:

  • 2.4.7 Focus Visible — Changed from Level A back to Level AA, as it is in WCAG 2.1.
  • 2.4.11, 2.4.12, 2.4.13 — Changed numbering.
  • 2.4.13 Focus Appearance — Changed to Level AAA. Edited to simplify and be more rigorous.
  • 2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) — Changed the "Spacing" exception and the "Inline" exception.
  • 2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) — Changed the Notes.
  • 3.3.8 Understanding Accessible Authentication (Minimum) — Added "(Minimum)".
Previous changes are listed in the changelog.

According to the W3C, WCAG 2.2 is scheduled to be completed and published early this year. 

What exactly is included in this latest update?

Before we get to that, please note: "All success criteria from 2.0 and 2.1 are included in 2.2. The 2.0 and 2.1 success criteria are exactly the same (verbatim, word-for-word) in 2.2."

Now, on to the update.

Although such a milestone is worth careful evaluation and process considerations, WCAG 2.2 essentially adds 9 new criteria:

  • two of which are AAA
    • For organizations striving to be AA compliant, these two criteria will not impact current processes.

  • one changed level: "2.4.7 Focus Visible is changed from Level AA in WCAG 2.1 to Level A in WCAG 2.2"
    • Again, if your organization was already striving to be AA compliant, your organization may re-prioritize this criterion, but essentially processes for checking for compliance will remain the same.

  • and one may or may not make it into the final update: "2.4.11 Focus Appearance is 'at risk' and might not be included in the final publication.” 

In addition to the above, six of the nine focus on the same type of audit - three are for navigation and three are for input and authentication.

So let’s take a closer look at what’s new in WCAG 2.2.

DubBot’s support team put together this list in an easy-to-read and understandable format that also includes some quick how-to test notes for each new criterion.

Guideline 2.4 Navigable

"Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are."

2.4.11 Focus Appearance (AA)

  • Requires a visual appearance around content in focus when using a keyboard to navigate content.
  • How to test: Manually audit web page templates to ensure that focus is visible, encapsulates all of the components, and meets new visual standards.

2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (AA)

  • Ensures that part of the focus indicator is visible and not completely covered by other content.
  • How to test: Manually audit web page templates to ensure that the focus indicator is at least partially visible.

2.4.13 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) (AAA)

  • Ensures that the entire focus indicator is visible and not covered by other content.
  • How to test: Manually audit web page templates to ensure that the focus indicator is completely visible.

Guideline 2.5 Input Modalities

"Make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond keyboard."

2.5.7 Dragging Movements (AA)

  • Focuses on making applications/websites that require users to drag content using a cursor accessible using assistive technology.
  • How to test: Audit the website for interaction with content that requires dragging action. (Most websites do not have this. Review slideshows on mobile/tablet devices.)

2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) (AA)

  • "The size of the  target for  pointer inputs is at least 24 by 24 CSS pixels" with exceptions outlined in WCAG including in blocks of text.
  • How to test: Manually review webpage templates for button positioning where clickable areas reside in closer proximity.

Guideline 3.2 Predictable

"Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways."

3.2.6 Consistent Help (A)

  • Any help mechanism used across pages is maintained in the same relative order of the page. For example, a chat app button is available in the same area of the page across a website.
  • How to test: Requires manual review of webpage templates.

Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance

"Help users avoid and correct mistakes."

3.3.7 Accessible Authentication (AA)

  • This focuses on making the login process more accessible for users with learning disabilities. The expectation is "support for password entry by password managers to reduce memory need, and copy and paste to reduce the cognitive burden of re-typing."
  • How to test: Manually review any login processes.

3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (No Exception) (AAA)

  • A more strict success criterion, similar to 3.3.7. It provides another authentication method that does not rely on a cognitive function test. For example, not having to remember a personal secret to log in.
  • How to test: Manually review any login processes.

3.3.9 Redundant Entry (A)

  • Ensure that forms that require the entry of the same content multiple times allow for simple reuse of entered content.
  • How to test: Audit forms for fields that could use the same data. Allow for content to be pre-populated from other content already filled in.

And there they are! The nine new success criteria coming to a WCAG near you!

For more detailed information, go to  What's New in WCAG 2.2 Draft   on the W3C website.

Resources

Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner
DubBot