Briefing

Category

UX

Date posted

18 Mar 2024

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Looking ahead to a new digital accessibility standard

October 2023 saw the first major update to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) since 2018 with the rollout of WCAG 2.2, a new version of universal standard for making websites and digital experiences accessible for all users, including those with disabilities.

WCAG 2.2 introduced nine new criteria and removed one existing criterion from the previous version. 

This update to the WCAG guidelines has a greater focus on making interfaces, content and functionality more easily findable and usable for users with cognitive, mobility and visual disabilities in particular.

Why accessibility matters

It is estimated that over 100 million people in the EU and 25% of the UK population have at least one disability. 

In addition, of the UK population, 15-20% are are neurodiverse and approximately three million people are colour blind. What’s more, disabilities become more prominent as we age, with around 25% of the population over 60. 

Simply put, adhering to WCAG guidelines will ensure a smoother user experience for everyone. 

The financial impact of not doing so is significant. A whopping 75% of people will not engage with a business that is not accessible rather than reporting inaccessibility. This has resulted in the UK’s ‘click-away pound’ (due to inaccessible and non-inclusive websites) being worth more than £17bn.

Future-proofing your website for WCAG 3.0

WCAG 2.2 is believed to be one of the final versions before the release of WCAG 3.0, considered an overhaul of the guidelines as we know them today. The third version will introduce a new rating system and additional testing methodologies. 

Plain language will be encouraged to foster more inclusivity between guidelines and the people referencing them. Guidelines will also be contextually aligned with emerging technologies such as AI.

Whilst WCAG 3.0 is still a work in progress, the previous versions will be backwards compatible and still required for compliance on the web. 

If you need any assistance with auditing your website against the WCAG 2.2 guidelines and staying ahead of the curve for WCAG 3.0, get in touch.