WCAG Conformance Success Criteria

Principle 5: Conformance Guidelines

WCAG Conformance Success Criteria
Conformance to a standard means that you meet or satisfy the requirements of the standard. In WCAG the requirements are the Success Criteria. To conform to WCAG, you need to satisfy the Success Criteria. In order to accommodate different situations that may require or allow greater levels of accessibility than others, WCAG has three levels of conformance. There are five requirements that must be met in order for content to be classified as conforming to WCAG.

Guideline 5.1 Conformance Level

The first requirement deals with the levels of conformance. It basically says that all information on a page conforms or has a conforming alternate version that is available from the page. One of the three levels of conformance (A, AA, AAA) must be met in full.

Guideline 5.2 Full Pages

This provision simply requires that the whole page conform. That is, statements about “part of a page conforming” cannot be made. For example, a long description of a graphic might be on a separate page that the user can jump to, or an alternative can also be provided on the same page.

Guideline 5.3 Complete Processes

When a web page is one of a series of web pages presenting a process (a sequence of steps that need to be completed in order to accomplish an activity), all web pages in the process must conform at the specified level or better. This would prevent a shopping site from being classified as conforming if the checkout or other features of the site that are part of the shopping and buying process do not conform.

Guideline 5.4 Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies

Only accessibility-supported ways of using technologies are relied upon to satisfy the success criteria. Many of the Success Criteria deal with providing accessibility through assistive technologies, or special accessibility features in mainstream user agents (for example, a show captions option in a media player). That is, the Success Criteria require that something be done in the web content that would make it possible for assistive technologies to successfully present the content’s information to the user. So, a picture that you were supposed to click on to go to a topic would not be accessible to a person who was blind, unless text alternatives describing the picture and the picture is defined as a Button, were provided in a way that user agents including assistive technologies can find and display them.

Guideline 5.5 Non-Interference

If technologies are used in a way that is not accessibility supported, then they must not block the ability of users to access the rest of the page. This means that technologies that are not accessibility supported can be used, as long as all the information is also available using technologies that are accessibility supported, and as long as the non-accessibility-supported material does not interfere.