Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, better known as WCAG, are a series of web accessibility guidelines that were published by the Web Accessibility initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They are a set of recommendations made for making web content more accessible to non-able-bodied individuals.
The POUR Principles
POUR Principles were outlined by the WCAG, to simplify and streamline the understanding of what needs to be accessibile the web. Below, we will discuss each of the four principles.
Perceivable: For content to be perceivable, they need to be presented in a way that the user can understand, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.
Operable: User interface and navigation on a website need to be able to be used and accessed by everyone.
Understandable: Content, information, and website functionality should be clear to all users. Everyone should be able to understand and navigate content.
Robust: The website should be accessed on a variety of devices, especially assistive technologies. As technology advances, content must still remain accessible.
Each principle comes with its own set of guidelines and success criteria. For a website to achieve the POUR principles, each principle will need to be taken into careful consideration.
Levels A, AA, AAA
WCAG guidelines are categorized into three levels of conformance in order to meet the needs of different groups and situations. The three levels are A, AA, and AAA, and each is progressively more difficult to achieve.
Level A: This level is designed to be the easiest to meet and does not impact the website design or structure as heavily as the others. However, this level is essential for every website and if it isn’t met, may lead to serious accessibility issues.
Level AA: Websites that conform with this level are considered accessible to most users. If a website conforms to this level, it means they also fully achieved level A, as well. Most websites should aim for this level.
Level AAA: Any website that achieves this level is considered optimal in terms of its accessibility, however, most sites do not reach this level. To obtain this level, content must pass every guideline in WCAG, which includes the guidelines in the previous two levels.