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Also posted on: Accessibility
WCAG 2.0 is a set of guidelines, that are designed to replace 1.0, on creating accessible web content. I wrote about the Proposed Recommendation when was published in November. I suggested then that the main benefit was that the new guidelines were more accessible and easier to understand. The four attributes: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust, POUR for short, are relatively easy to understand and are easy to relate to the requirements for accessibility.
What has really impressed me about the publish guidelines is the set of documents that surround them. These include an introductory document that I believe is clear enough for anyone who is considering commissioning a website, but is not interested in the details of accessibility implementation. There are also documents on how to check conformance, and advisory techniques that can be used to meet the success criteria for specific technologies.
For anyone who has already implemented an accessible website there is a document that compares the old guidelines to the new. This document makes it clear that an existing accessible website should require little or no changes to be made to it to make it conform to the new standards. It includes a table that compares the checkpoints in the old guidelines with the requirements in the new.
There is a considerable amount to read in the new guidelines and it will take some time for existing experts in the area to fully get their arms around the guidelines. However their ease of use and the greater ability to check for conformance will mean that these guidelines are quickly accepted and implementation started.
These new guidelines have been a long time coming but I believe they are definitely worth the wait. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and all the people who worked on these guidelines should be complemented on this major achievement.