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1.3 Conforming to Accessibility Standards

Being compliant means hitting a certain number of standards or checkpoints when developing a site. In short, you ought to be doing everything you can to pass the success criteria of WCAG 2.0 AA compliance. Let’s learn a little more about compliance. Hitting these standards is also referred to as conformance.

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1.3 Conforming to Accessibility Standards

Hey there, John Hartley with Tuts+ and in this lesson of Beginner's Guide to Web Accessibility, we'll take a look at what it means to be compliant. Compliance means hitting a certain amount of standards or checkpoints when developing a site. In short, you ought to be doing everything you can to pass the success criteria of WCAG 2.0 AA compliance. Let's learn a little more about what that means. Outside of the United States, there are about 20 countries that have some sort of regulations about web accessibility. All but one of those are based on WCAG 2.0. In the US, the law regarding web accessibility is section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And that's more just specific to government agencies. The 508 refresh which is scheduled for finalization on October of 2016, will more closely resemble with WCAG 2.0. Overall, the idea is that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public, should be allowed the same access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public, who are not individuals with disabilities. Unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 has 16 standards, use guidelines, and those were based on the WCAG 1.0. And then around 2008, WCAG 2.0 came along. WCAG 2.0 was accepted by the International Standardization Organization, or ISO, in 2012. And is widely regarded as the go to resource for creating accessible websites. WCAG is what we'll be discussing throughout the rest of the course. And now that I've said the word WCAG over and over, let's find out what it is. WCAG, WCAG, WCAG, however you wanna say it, stands for web content accessibility guidelines. And was created by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, the WCAG WG, which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium, the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, WAI. Lots of acronyms, but that's as far on an acronym train that we'll go. As their site says, WCAG is a technical standard, not an introduction to accessibility. WCAG gives success and failure criteria that serve as examples of how and how not to go about building your site. Taking a look at some of the criteria, you'll notice either one A or two As or three As. This is the level of compliance that the guideline satisfies. To impact that the WCAG has three levels of compliance. Single A level, which pretty much all sites should try and hit. AA level compliance, which is a bit more detailed but is still pretty darn important. And actually used in many court cases which have come up in the last year or so. And AAA level compliance, which is the highest and hardest level. For those at this point that are thinking, hey, I want to be the very best when it comes to accessibility, then I say go for that AAA compliance. Even if you only hit one or two of the AAA items, you've still got a good site. And as long as you're hitting WCAG AA, then your site will be compliant. As I said, in many legal battles regarding web accessibility, most lawsuits are pointing to AA compliance. And many of the lawsuits are starting out of frustration of a disabled user not being able to use a site. These are all things to take into consideration when building out a website that is accessible. The ideas of the WCAG circle around the POUR principle, that's P-O-U-R. And P stands for perceivable, O stands for operable. U stands for understandable and R is for robust. For each of the four principles, there are certain guidelines the site must hit. And that's that A, AA and AAA that we were talking about. So strive for AA compliance in all of your sites. The baseline of compliance that you should aim for Is WCAG 2.0 AA. There are many resources and checklists to make sure that as you're going through your site, you're remembering all of these. By using that as a guide, the result should be an accessible website. Now that we've got a good idea of what compliance is, we can start diving into how someone with a disability might access your website.

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