New Success Criteria in WCAG 2.1

In June, 2018, the W3C updated the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to version 2.1. The update builds on the requirements in WCAG 2.0 with 17 new success criteria that address gaps in accessibility under 2.0. There are five new Level A requirements, seven new Level AA requirements, and five new AAA requirements.

Below are summaries of each new success criterion, organized by level. Each summary contains a link to a page with more information.

Level A:

With the exception of 2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts, the new Level A requirements focus on accessibility for mobile devices.

  • 2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts: On web pages where keyboard shortcuts can be activated using one letter, users need the ability to remap or disable these shortcuts.
  • 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures: Don't require users to make specific finger or cursor gestures.
  • 2.5.2 Pointer Cancellation: Don't activate functions on the down-click or down-tap, but if you must, give the user the ability to undo the action.
  • 2.5.3 Label in Name: Make sure that the programmatic labels you use for elements such as buttons match the label the user sees.
  • 2.5.4 Motion Actuation: If moving the device is used to activate functionality, make sure the user can disable the motion controls and use a different method to access the functionality.

Level AA:

  • 1.3.4 Orientation: Allow the user to use the website in their preferred device orientation.
  • 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose: Write your forms so they can be used with Autofill.
  • 1.4.10 Reflow: Adjust your website as the width of the user's screen changes to avoid horizontal scrolling.
  • 1.4.11 Non-Text Contrast: Parts of graphics that are not words but still convey information should have sufficient contrast.
  • 1.4.12 Text Spacing: Allow users to adjust the size and spacing of text for ease of reading without overlapping or overflowing containers.
  • 1.4.13 Content on Hover or Focus: If new content (like navigation menus) pops up, make sure it can be escaped without moving the mouse or keyboard focus.
  • 4.1.3 Status Changes: If you display an update onscreen that does not receive focus, make sure it is coded as an alert so assistive technologies can tell the user about it.

Level AAA:

  • 1.3.6 Identify Purpose: denote the contents and purpose of different regions of page in the code.
  • 2.2.6 Timeouts: If inactivity will cause a session to expire, tell the user how long they have.
  • 2.3.3 Animations from Interactions: Extra animations can distract people or make them sick, so give users the option to turn them off.
  • 2.5.5 Target Size: Make your buttons at least 44px by 44px to make sure users can actually touch them.
  • 2.5.6 Concurrent Input Mechanisms: Allow users to use their preferred input method - voice, on screen keyboard, bluetooth keyboard, etc.