AbilityNet Factsheet - April 2024

What you need to know about WCAG 2.2

This factsheet outlines how WCAG 2.2 benefits disabled people, and details the key points you should act on to comply with WCAG 2.2 requirements. The information below is particularly useful for web developers, content editors and web managers but is also valuable for anyone wanting to know more about WCAG 2.2 in general.

Last updated: April 2024

1. What is WCAG 2.2?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 became a W3C recommendation on 5th October 2023. This is the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a set of internationally recognised standards for making web content more accessible to disabled people.  

This factsheet outlines the key changes in WCAG 2.2, considerations moving forward and how to comply with WCAG 2.2 guidelines. 

2. Why is WCAG important?

Clearly defined guidelines, published and updated by the W3C and incorporated into local legislation worldwide, means that digital developers and designers know how to ensure the accessibility of their products, and we can hold them to account when they fall short.

3. How have the WCAG guidelines adapted over time?

The guidelines are constantly evolving to accommodate those with diverse needs.

WCAG 2.2 gives a new focus to neurodiversity. Those with neurodiverse needs include people with ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette's syndrome. 

4. Key changes in WCAG 2.2 

The updates in WCAG 2.2 focus on improving accessibility for users with cognitive, learning or mobility disabilities and low vision users. 

Within the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, there are three conformance levels: A (lowest), AA (mid-range), and AAA (highest). The WCAG 2.2 update has the following key changes: 

Two women sitting at desk looking at laptopNeed training for you or your team about WCAG 2.2?
Come to our WCAG 2.2 course: The Essential Guide to WCAG 2.2

Crack the code of WCAG 2.2 for developers, designers and all those who need to meet web accessibility standards.

5. The newly introduced Success Criteria (A/AA) 

2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (Level AA)  

Summary: When an individual uses a keyboard to navigate to an interactive element, such as a button or a link, the interactive element and respective focus indication remain visible. 

This success criterion aims to enhance web accessibility for sighted users who rely on keyboard navigation by ensuring that no interactive component or its focus indicator is obscured by other content on the page.  

While 2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (Level AA) requires that at least a portion of the focused element is visible, having the entire element and its focus indicator visible is required to meet 2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) (Level AAA). 

2.5.7 Dragging Movements (Level AA) 

Summary: Individuals are not required to use dragging gestures, either with a mouse or on a touch screen.  

The aim of this success criterion is to support individuals with motor disabilities who may struggle with precise movements and sustained pressure. Dragging movements that require the user to use a mouse movement or a finger drag to move something from one point to another (for example, drag-and-drop) can also be achieved using a single pointer, such as a button.  

2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) (Level AA) 

Summary: Individuals who use a mouse pointer or a touch screen have enough space to operate interactive elements, such as buttons or links.  

This success criterion introduces a minimum target size for an interactive element and, if applicable, a minimum distance around an interactive element. This aims to address the challenge of pressing small interactive controls, to help reduce the risk of accidental activation. This can affect several user groups, but especially those with fine motor skill challenges.  

3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum) (Level AA) 

Summary: When completing an authentication task, such as logging in, individuals are not required to memorise their details, transcribe one one-time passwords, or completing other types of cognitive tests. 

This success criterion aims to simplify the authentication processes for users, particularly those with cognitive differences, such as memory issues, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and similar conditions. It calls for authentication methods that do not rely on cognitive function tests, such as transcription, memory or puzzle-solving.  

3.2.6 Consistent Help (Level A) 

Summary: When help is available and repeated across several pages, individuals can always find it in the same place. 

This success criterion aims to enhance user accessibility by ensuring that help features, like contact information or self-help options, remain consistently located across a set of pages. By maintaining a uniform placement for these support resources, individuals with cognitive disabilities can easily find the assistance they need to accomplish their tasks on the website. 

5.3.7 Redundant Entry (Level A) 

Summary: When individuals are required to enter the same information in the same process, such as creating an account or answering a questionnaire, they do not have to type the information all over again. 

This success criterion addresses the issue of redundant data entry in forms, which can be challenging for users with cognitive, learning or mobility disabilities. It emphasises the importance of either auto-populating the information for the user, or providing a user-friendly way to reuse previously entered data, such as selecting it from a dropdown. 

Would you like to check whether your digital products comply with accessibility standards?

Our team of expert consultants can conduct audits of your websites and apps, assessing them against the latest WCAG 2.2 criteria.

Request an audit quote today

6. The removed success criterion 

4.1.1 Parsing (Level A) 

With the new updates to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.2, the success criterion 4.1.1 Parsing (Level A) was removed. This criterion was originally adopted to address problems that assistive technologies had directly parsing HTML. These problems, however, either no longer exist due to improvements in technology, or are addressed by other criteria. Thus, this requirement has been removed.  

7. WCAG 2.2 compliance 

The WCAG 2.2 update builds upon the existing WCAG 2.1 and 2.0 guidelines. This means that if you meet the requirements of WCAG 2.2, you will automatically meet the requirements of WCAG 2.1 and 2.0  (except for the Parsing requirement).   

These changes also have legal implications. One implication to note within the UK is within the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations (PSBAR). The PSBAR currently requires that public sector bodies publish an accessibility statement detailing the conformance of their digital platforms with WCAG 2.1. This has now been updated so they must be conformant with WCAG 2.2, applicable from October 2024. 

8. How to comply with WCAG 2.2 

If you are responsible for creating or maintaining web content, there are several things you can do to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.2: 

Learn about the new WCAG 2.2 requirements: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides resources to help you learn about the WCAG 2.2 requirements, including a reference guide and a checklist. 

Test your web content: Once you have made changes to your web content to comply with WCAG 2.2, it is important to test your content to make sure that it is accessible. You can use a variety of tools to test your content, including screen readers, keyboard navigation tools, and colour contrast checkers. 

You can learn how to begin your own accessibility testing on diverse tools with our range of online training courses

Get help from an expert: If you need help complying with WCAG 2.2, you can get help from an accessibility expert. Accessibility experts can help you to identify and fix accessibility barriers in your web content. 

Speak to our experts to find out more about our Disabled User Research and User Testing services or our Accessibility Audits and Testing services

If you are responsible for creating or maintaining web content, it is important to start preparing for WCAG 2.2 now. By learning about the WCAG 2.2 requirements and testing your web content, you can help to ensure that your content is accessible to everyone. 

9. How does WCAG 2.2 support disabled people?

Implementing WCAG 2.2 translates into tangible benefits for web users. Reducing redundant entries and ensuring accessible authentication empowers disabled people to use technology more independently.

Clear focus, larger target sizes, and consistent help placements alleviate frustration, making day-to-day activities less exhausting.

Each criterion plays a crucial role in addressing specific challenges faced by a wide variety of users. 

Read our blog that discusses the impact of WCAG 2.2 changes, focusing on the lived experiences of two disabled individuals.

10. WCAG 2.2 considerations moving forward 

While these updates bring about beneficial changes, it is important to remember that while WCAG is a solid base for a range of disabilities, it can be built upon to further benefit all users (of all ages and cultures) and build an accessible and usable digital world for all.  

At AbilityNet, we believe in helping our clients go beyond compliance through user testing. We always recommend putting disabled people at the heart of every project by getting a diverse range of user testers to regularly review your digital content and services. 

According to the latest W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0 updates, WCAG 3.0 may also introduce "assertions", which are statements confirming if a process, like a usability testing, was done. These assertions document the process itself and do not directly test its results. 

Read more about what to expect of WCAG 3.0.

11. WCAG 2.2 and user testing 

By implementing these guidelines and conducting user testing, researchers can uncover nuanced experiences and barriers, enriching their findings. This approach provides a more holistic understanding of user interactions, ensuring that accessibility is not just an abstract concept, but a tangible improvement in the lives of your users.A checklist icon with a person sitting at a desk with a clipboard in front of them

WCAG 2.2 goes beyond a checklist; it has a tangible impact on disabled individuals, enhancing their digital experiences.

By seamlessly integrating accessibility and usability, you can move closer to a gold standard where technology empowers users, fostering confidence and independence. 

Get ahead of WCAG 2.2 and find out more about our Disabled User Research and User Testing service

Learn more about user testing 

Ready to conduct successful inclusive user testing?
We make sure that you ask the right people the right questions at the right time and make the best use of their feedback. Find out how to get the most from your user research budget.

This factsheet was adapted from a blog written by Alice Taylor, AbilityNet Principal Accessibility Consultant Team Leader and Joana Condeço, AbilityNet Senior Accessibility and Usability Consultant, and reviewed by the accessibility consultant team at AbilityNet. Contributions also included from Robin Christopherson MBE.

14. How AbilityNet can help you

My Computer My Way

My Computer My Way is an AbilityNet run website packed with articles explaining how to use the accessibility features built into your computer, tablet or smartphone. The site is routinely updated as new features and changes are made to the Windows, MacOS, iOS, Chrome OS and Android operating systems. The site is broken down into the following sections:

  • Vision – computer adjustments to do with vision and colour
  • Hearing – computer adjustments to do with hearing, communication and speech
  • Motor – computer adjustments to do mobility, stamina and dexterity
  • Cognitive – computer adjustments to do with attention, learning and memory

Use it for free at mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk

Advice and information

If you have any questions please contact us at AbilityNet and we will do all we can to help.

  • Call: 0300 180 0028
    Please note: calls to our helpline number cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls, and AbilityNet does not receive any money from these calls.
  • Email: enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk

IT support at Home

If you’re looking for in-person support, you can book a free visit from one of our disclosure-checked volunteers. Many of our volunteers are former IT professionals who give their time to help older people and people with disabilities to use technology to achieve their goals. Our friendly volunteers can help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones.


Copyright information

This factsheet is licensed by AbilityNet under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. View a copy of this license at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

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