WCAG 2.2 Released

It’s finally here! Welcome one and all to the long-awaited release of WCAG 2.2.

It first went into the works in early 2020. Come 2023, and its long-anticipated release finally made its way to the public on October 5, 2023.

SortSite 6.50 was released the same day with new rules for WCAG 2.2.

WCAG: What’s the Deal?

WCAG was created with the intention of making the web more accessible to users with disabilities and impairments. It provides a comprehensive standard that sites should adhere to in order to broadly improve their accessibility. All criteria are based on four main accessibility principles. These are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

Perceivable means that content cannot be hidden or ambiguous to a user’s senses. For example, providing accessible alternatives to media content such as captions, alt-text, or sign language interpretation.

Operable means that all interactive components function well, particularly when used in different ways. For example, users can still access all components when using non-mouse navigation options such as keyboard navigation or other assistive technology.

Understandable means that your site presents content and information in a way that makes sense. For example, ensuring that your site’s navigation is consistent, predictable, and labeled accurately.

Robust means that your website should be able to work when used in a multitude of ways. For example, it should still work well when used with assistive technology or in different browsers.

WCAG 2.2 builds upon the groundwork previously laid out in WCAG 2.1. This means it doesn’t necessarily bring huge changes - we have to wait for WCAG 3.0 for that. However, it does include many of the improvements and criteria intended for WCAG 2.2 that missed the original cut-off. WCAG 2.2 mainly focuses on improving the accessibility landscape for users with cognitive or learning disabilities, low vision, and users with disabilities on mobile devices.

WCAG 2.2 Conformance Levels

This update doesn’t bring any changes to WCAG conformance levels. The levels remain:

A (covers very basic compliance, does not make your site broadly accessible for everyone) AA (a higher level of compliance which is recommended for all sites, required for government websites) AAA (the highest level of compliance, this is very difficult for most sites to achieve)

To attain a higher level of conformance, you need to be fully compliant with the level below it. Note that even complete AAA conformance can’t guarantee that your site will be completely accessible to everyone. This is particularly true for users with combinations or differing degrees of cognitive, language, and learning disabilities.

What’s New?

Adding to the other 50 pre-existing criteria, this WCAG sees nine new success criteria introduced. These new criteria are:

Navigable means that users can easily navigate, find the content they need, and know where they are on your site.

  • 2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (AA)
  • 2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) (AAA)
  • 2.4.13 Focus Appearance (AAA)

Input Modalities

This means that users can use your site with a non-mouse navigation option that is not limited to keyboard only.

  • 2.5.7 Dragging Movements (AA)
  • 2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) (AA)


Predictable means that your site behaves and is constructed in a way that’s expected and easy to understand.

  • 3.2.6 Consistent Help (A)

Input Assistance

This includes features that helps users to identify and fix their mistakes.

  • 3.3.7 Redundant Entry (A)
  • 3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum) (AA)
  • 3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (Enhanced) (AAA)

On top of the new additions, this version of WCAG has actually removed a success criteria. This is 4.1.1 Parsing, which is now considered obsolete. This criterion was initially included to help with problems that assistive technology had directly parsing HTML. Assistive tech now doesn’t need to directly parse HTML, making this criterion redundant. Hence, it’s been taken out.

Focus Not Obscured (Minimum)

These new criteria ensure that users who rely on keyboard navigation do not come across focused elements covered by other user-created content. The minimum requirement states the focused content must be at least partially visible. For example, tabbing elements are not completely obscured by content like cookie popups and banners.

Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced)

The only difference between enhanced and minimum is that this criterion requires that the entire component and its focus indicator must be visible.

Focus Appearance

Following on from the previous criteria, this is another that aims to help users better recognize the selected component. This new criterion means that the box surrounding the selected component must be big enough and have a decent color contrast. This must be a minimum color contrast ratio of 3:1. This will help users to distinguish between focused and non-focused elements.

Dragging Movements

This new criteria aims to help users who have issues with drag-and-drop features. In this case, drag and drop describes features that require users to hold down and drag simultaneously. This includes sliding bars and moving items across the screen. These features rely on steadiness and hand strength which causes problems for users with dexterity or fine motor skill issues. To comply with this criterion you must allow users to complete these functions without a mouse, including using a keyboard or other assistive technology.

Target Size (Minimum)

This criteria aims to help people who have trouble with overly small buttons and links. Clicking on interactive commands, especially smaller ones, can be an issue for people who have difficulties with fine motor skills. This new requirement states that the size of the target for pointer targets must be at least 24 by 24 CSS Pixels. Let’s break this down a little more. This can apply to the actual logo size or the surrounding space. Essentially, if the logo itself isn’t 24 by 24 CSS Pixels, then the clickable space around it must be.

This isn’t quite right – in spite of the name this doesn’t require a minimum size – it’s not intended to make stuff easier to click. Instead it’s about making it harder to click the wrong thing. Either the target is bigger than 24x24 CSS pixels or there are no other targets nearer than 24 pixels.

This applies to both computers and touchscreen devices. Therefore, it applies to controlling these devices with a mouse, pointers, other assistive tech, and fingers.

Consistent Help

Consistent help throughout your website dramatically improves overall UX. However, it can be particularly important for users with cognitive disabilities. This new criterion aims to make it easier for users to find the help they need across your entire site. This means contact or help pages should appear consistently in the same place across many pages of your site. For this new requirement, consistent help means that users should not have to use search features to get help.

Redundant Entry

When filling out forms, sites sometimes request users to enter the same information more than once. This is redundant. It’s also especially problematic for users who have difficulties typing or cognitive disabilities. This new criterion states that users should not have to enter the same information multiple times. If multiple entries are unavoidable, then it must be easy for users to re-enter information. For example, using auto-fill.

Accessible Authentication (Minimum)

Many people find authentication processes difficult. Whether this be remembering passwords or completing difficult CAPTCHA. This is because these count as cognitive function tests. Whilst annoying for all users, they can cause particular problems for users with disabilities. The Accessible Authentication success criterion states that users must be able to log in without having to complete a cognitive function test. On login pages, users must be able to use features such as copy-and-paste or autofill to access their accounts. If the page requires users to complete an authentication test to log in, this must be an object recognition test or personal content recognition.

Accessible Authentication (Enhanced)

For enhanced Accessible Authentication, only the following are considered acceptable alternatives:

An alternative that is not a cognitive function test is provided There is a mechanism provided to help users complete cognitive function test.

This version does not accept object recognition tests or personal content recognition.

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