My Wish List for the Next Version of WCAG
Here is a punch list of some things I'd personally love to see in the next version of WCAG.
- Requirements that notify a user of dynamic changes to a page such as additions to shopping carts, newly added fields, and automatically updating content etc... and a way to discover these changes on the page easily.
- Requirements that mobile views work with mobile screen readers such as Voice Over on iOS, and TalkBack on Android.
- Help for low vision users and people with dexterity problems on mobile, such as minimum distances between buttons etc...
- Ensure alternate input methods like shaking the device, or geturing the camera have alternatives for people who can't make those movements.
- Ensure that when an inaccessible page links to a "conforming alternative" page, the link is easy to find (near top of the page), easy to identify "Accessible version of this page", so user doesn't waste time on an inaccessible page.
- Minimum requirements for focus ring, so as a sighted keyboard user tabs, and they can easily see where the tab focus is.
- Provisions that make it easy for low vision users to zoom into a responsive site on a desktop AND toggle on/off information that was dropped by the responsive layout.
- Better affordances for icons, buttons and other interactive components for people with low vision and cognitive disabilities. (Affordances is a fancy word to ensure they are visually identifiable).
- Guidance on when NOT to use ARIA, and how to use it prudently.
- A failure technique to ensure authors use landmarks or proper HTML5 replacements for them
- Requirements to help people with cognitive disabilities not to make expensive mistakes, or give away very personal information.
- Help for users in wheelchairs with mounted screens that can't change orientation.
- Requirements that error text for a form field is associated with the field (i.e. aria-describedby).
- Clarification on whether inaccessibile components are allowed on a page, and if so, marked as such, ensuring the alternative accessible component is next in the visual and programmatic reading order, not far away.
- Better requirements for media players, captions, transcripts and audio description.
- An introduction to personalization requirements so users can have more control over the way the page looks for them, including single column layout, color and contrast control, and better control of text size without horizontal scroll and hopefully some way to simplify the content to the essential tasks on the page, for users with cognitive disabilities.
- Plain language guidance.
- Prominent place for best practice guidance for cognitive and low vision users, when the guidance doesn't have the necessary characterisitcs (testable etc...) to become Success Criteria.
- Resurrection of a few AAA SCs moved into the main A, AA Levels so the good guidance is required.
I'm sure many others have their wish lists too. I'm sure things will be added to my wish list, and some will drop off but I hope to see a more accessible dynamic and mobile web as a result of the new WCAG.
Feel free to comment on Twitter @davidmacd
David MacDonald is a veteran WCAG member, co-editor of Using WAI ARIA in HTML5 and HTML5 Accessibility Task Force Member. Opinions are my own.
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