Chris Ashton

dai11y 10/06/2021

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We need to talk about WCAG

  • This article is written by Rian Rietveld (my second article in a row by this author, by pure coincidence!)
  • 97.4% of home pages have detectable WCAG 2 failures. Rian concludes that this is a failure in the way we communicate and teach WCAG, which she thinks is partly down to the information architecture of the WCAG docs. When arriving at a W3C page from a search engine, it can be hard to know if a document is a draft, if it is outdated, and whether it is WCAG 2.0 or 2.1. A lot of old W3C content is indexed by search engines, and sometimes it is the old page that is the one at the top of the search results.
  • Rian describes a real world example; searching for “title attribute WCAG”, clicking on the first result, and copying the code example results in code that is bad practice, though not technically a WCAG violation as it is a “Technique” rather than a “Success Criterion”. Rian expects many developers won’t know the difference between the two.
  • Some new Success Criteria will be added in WCAG 2.2; Rian suggests this is counterproductive while so many existing Success Criteria are ignored. She has raised a GitHub issue, and invites you to add a comment.
  • Rian proposes:
    • Adding a message to the top of every out-of-date page saying that it has been superseded, and link to the latest page. Add noindex to these pages to prevent search engines from continuing to index them.
    • Consolidate content about Techniques, Success Criteria and Understanding, so that each topic only has one page. Use the WAI website for education and tutorials.

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