According to the definition of conformance from the W3C website, there are five requirements that must be met in order for content to be classified as conforming to WCAG 2.0:
- “Conformance Level: One of the following levels of conformance is met in full.
- Level A: For Level A conformance (the minimum level of conformance), the Web page satisfies all the Level A Success Criteria, or a conforming alternate version is provided.
- Level AA: For Level AA conformance, the Web page satisfies all the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria, or a Level AA conforming alternate version is provided.
- Level AAA: For Level AAA conformance, the Web page satisfies all the Level A, Level AA and Level AAA Success Criteria, or a Level AAA conforming alternate version is provided.”
- “Full pages: Conformance (and conformance level) is for full Web page(s) only and cannot be achieved if part of a Web page is excluded.”
- “Complete processes: When a Web page is one of a series of Web pages presenting a process (i.e., a sequence of steps that need to be completed in order to accomplish an activity), all Web pages in the process conform at the specified level or better.”
- “Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies: Only accessibility-supported ways of using technologies are relied upon to satisfy the success criteria.” This basically says that the way chosen to satisfy the Success Criteria will work with user agents and assistive technologies – meaning essentially that standard methods are used to expose content to assistive technology or special accessibility features in mainstream user agents.
- “Non-Interference: If technologies are used in a way that is not accessibility supported, or if they are used in a non-conforming way, then they do not block the ability of users to access the rest of the page.” This basically says that technologies that are not accessibility supported can be used, as long as the non-accessibility-supported material does not interfere and all the information is also available using technologies that are accessibility supported.
As a minimum aid to meeting WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards, web developers and content creators must meet the following benchmarks before a work is approved for publishing. Content must be:
Make content and controls perceivable by all users.
- Do images have alternative text?
- Does video have captions and does audio have a transcript?
- Does the web page or document include headings, lists, ARIA landmarks, and other semantic elements to communicate document structure?
- Is the tab order and read order logical and intuitive?
- Do form fields with web pages and documents have appropriately coded labels and prompts?
- Have you avoided using visual characteristics to communicate information (e.g., “click the circle on the left” or “required fields are in red”)?
- Does the interface have sufficient contrast between text color and background color?
- Does the content scale when text is enlarged up to 200 percent?
Make content and controls operable by all users.
- Can all menus, links, buttons, and other controls be operated by keyboard, to make them accessible to users who are unable to use a mouse?
- Does the web page include a visible focus indicator so all users, especially those using a keyboard, can easily track their current position?
- Do features that scroll or update automatically (eg., slideshows, carousels) have prominent accessible controls that enable users to pause or advance these features on their own?
- Do pages that have time limits include mechanisms for adjusting those limits for users who need more time?
- Have you avoided using content that flashes or flickers?
- Does the web page or document have a title that describes its topic or purpose?
- Are mechanisms in place that allow users to bypass blocks of content (e.g., a “skip to main content” link on a web page or bookmarks in a PDF)?
- Does the website include two or more ways of finding content, such as a navigation menu, search feature, or site map?
- Is link text meaningful, independent of context?
Make content and user interfaces understandable to all users.
- Has the language of the web page or document (or individual parts of a multilingual document) been defined?
- Have you avoided links, controls, or form fields that automatically trigger a change in context?
- Does the website, PowerPoint, document include consistent navigation?
- Do online forms provide helpful, accessible error and verification messages?
Make content robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
- Is the web page coded using valid HTML?
- Do rich, dynamic, web interfaces, such as modal windows, drop-down menus, slideshows, and carousels, include ARIA markup ?