Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

On June 5, 2018, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released an update of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, a globally recognized, technology-neutral accessibility standard for web content.

WCAG 2.1 builds upon guidance developed by W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative by expanding coverage of mobile device accessibility and enhancing access for people with low vision and who have cognitive or learning disabilities.

All web and PDF functionality must be usable with the keyboard. That is, users can access links, buttons, forms, and other controls using the tab key and other keystrokes. Websites should not require a mouse.

Learn more about CCBC’s Content Formatting and PDF Accessibility Training »

When developing online content we must consider:

  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Learning differences
  • Mobility
  • Time restrictions
  • Computer security
  • Available software applications
  • Mobile devices
  • Assistive technologies

Web Accessibility Terminology

ADA compliance

ADA compliance is the process of abiding by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) »

Section 504

Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 ensures that a student with a disability has equal access to an education. The student may receive accommodations and modifications.

Learn more about Section 504 »

Section 508

Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

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Universal design

Universal design (also known as inclusive design) is the process of designing products and services to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. Universally designed products accommodate individual preferences and abilities; communicate necessary information effectively (regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities); and can be approached, reached, manipulated, and used regardless of the individual's body size, posture, or mobility. Application of universal design principles minimizes the need for assistive technology, results in products compatible with assistive technology, and makes products more usable by everyone, not just people with disabilities.

Learn more about universal design »

Digital accessibility

Digital materials must be in a format that individuals with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with in the same manner as individuals without disabilities.

Learn more about digital accessibility at CCBC »

Web accessibility

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

Learn more about web accessibility »

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines covers a wide range of international standards for making web content accessible.

Learn more about WCAG 2.1 »
Learn to write for web accessibility »
Learn to design for web accessibility »
Learn to program for web accessibility »

Screen reader

Screen readers are software applications that convey display content via non-visual means, like text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille device. A screen reader is a form of assistive technology (AT) which is essential to people who are visually impaired, illiterate, or have a learning disability. 

Assistive technology software supported by CCBC
  • NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) – text-to-speech
  • ZoomText – enlarges text on a screen
  • JAWS – text-to-speech
  • Kurzweil 3000 – text-to-speech
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking – speech-to-text

PDF accessibility

A document or application is considered accessible if meets certain technical criteria and can be used by people with disabilities. This includes access by people who are mobility impaired, blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, or who have cognitive impairments. Accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and in the Portable Document Format (PDF) make it easier for people with disabilities to use PDF documents and forms, with and without the aid of assistive technology software and devices such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, alternative input devices, Braille embossers, and refreshable Braille displays.

Learn more about PDF accessibility standards »

Video accessibility

Videos should be produced and delivered in ways that ensure that all members of the audience can access their content. An accessible video includes captions and audio description and is delivered in an accessible media player. For live events simulcast over the web, live captioning is required to provide access to the audio content for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing. Similarly, live audio descriptions may be needed if key visual content will otherwise not be verbalized, such as in a dramatic production.

Learn more about video accessibility »