The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are divided into 4 groups:

  • Perceivable - Text alternative for non-text content such as images and charts, captions and other alternatives for video should be provided, and content should be adaptable by the user to fit their requirements.
  • Operable - Users should be able to easily navigate around the site and have enough time to interact with the content without discomfort or physical reactions.
  • Understandable - Content must be understandable by different types of users, must appear and behave in predictable ways and users should be helped to correct mistakes.
  • Robust - Content must be robust and compatible with current and future tools, browsers and technologies.

The criteria make up 3 levels. A, AA, and AAA, each building on the previous. To declare your website or service AA compliant you need to meet all of the A and AA criteria. For A and AA there are around 50 criteria in total.

Using the guides for each group, you can better understand how to meet these levels and understand what it means to be compliant.

Meeting full AAA compliance is not recommended as a general policy. It is not always possible to satisfy all of the criteria, and doing so will make your service appear inconsistent with the rest of GOV.UK.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 was amended on 26 October 2022 and now states that as a public body, we are required to conform to the latest version of WCAG, currently 2.1.

All guidelines for Level A and Level AA for the latest published version (2.1) are included. We have also made available the draft WCAG 2.2 guidelines to start to understand their impact on services you may be building now.

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