s far as acronyms go, WCAG 2.1 is a bit of a doozy. It’s not the most recognisable, and certainly not the easiest to say. There’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of it before.
But if you're creating eLearning for government organisations like local councils or state government branches, then you need to know about it ASAP.
More importantly, you need to know how to use it.
So if this is the first time you're hearing about it, don't worry- this blog is here to answer all your questions.
What is WCAG 2.1?
WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It’s a wide-ranging set of guidelines for making digital content more accessible for people with disabilities. It’s incredibly comprehensive too, taking into account all kinds of restrictions caused by physical or cognitive disabilities. Many of the recommendations are also just good design principles that benefit all users.
Why is WCAG 2.1 so important?
Many people with disabilities, such as visual or motor impairments struggle to navigate digital content. They are often unable to use equipment that others take for granted, such as a mouse, keyboard or screen. As so much of society becomes more and more digital, many people risk being unfairly excluded on the basis of a disability. The ability to have a fulfilling career is particularly at risk for exclusion if workplaces cannot provide inclusive digital environments.
If you work in a government organisations, you'll almost certainly have mandatory expectations to provide accessible content and experiences. If you don't, you could be unfairly excluding potential employees and exposing your organisation to reputational risks.
By following the WCAG 2.1 guidelines, you can ensure that your eLearning content is
What does WCAG 2.1 involve?
There are four principles into which the guidelines are sorted. The four principles are:
Each recommendation has a success criteria with up to three levels of conformance; Levels A, AA and AAA. Level A defines the lowest level of conformance, and Level AAA defines the highest level of conformance, which is the most difficult to achieve. These day, much web content is able to achieve Level A conformance thanks to awareness of recommendations like alt text. However, it is very rare for content to meet even Level AA of conformance.
Meeting the WCAG 2.1 guidelines requires both the right approach AND the right software. Plenty of eLearning authoring tools will let you add basic accessibility elements such as adding alt text, or uploading a transcript for videos and audio, but few tools build-in critical requirements such as keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, zoom readability and robust code. Therefore it's crucial to check that the software you use to create eLearning meets the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
At HowToo, we strive to deliver an eLearning creation tool that helps you meet every Level AA requirement of WCAG 2.1 for your published courses. Not only that, but HowToo is the first eLearning software to build an accessibility checker into our authoring tool to ensure you don't miss a thing. It's a feature that puts HowToo head-and-shoulders above other authoring tools in the eLearning industry, and it's all part of our passion to improve digital accessibility online.
How can I check if my digital content is accessible?
WCAG 2.1 can be a little overwhelming to process. That's why we've taken all the guideline and put them in simple, easy to understand language in a handy, interactive checklist. With our checklist, you can work through the guidelines one at a time and see exactly where you’re doing well, and where you could improve.