Accessibility Testing Improvements

28 Mar 2024 | Accessibility | Tech Update | Accessibility Bulletin

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We’re excited to announce significant improvements to our accessibility tests as well as an upgrade to the latest WCAG standards 2.2 from 2.1, defined by W3C to make web content more accessible.

WCAG 2.2 builds on 2.1 and is backwards compatible. The primary difference between WCAG 2.1 and WCAG 2.2 is the incorporation of nine new success criteria. These new criteria extend the scope of accessibility requirements, accommodating users with cognitive or learning disabilities, low vision, and those who rely on mobile devices for their digital interactions.

Out of the nine new success criteria, eight require manual checks. The success criteria requiring manual checks are as follows:

1.     2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum)

2.     2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced)

3.     2.4.13 Focus Appearance

4.     2.5.7 Dragging Movements

5.     3.2.6 Consistent Help

6.     3.3.7 Redundant Entry

7.     3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum)

8.     3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (Enhanced)

Among the new success criteria, one can be checked using automation, 2.5.8 Target Size (Minimum) and is now integrated into our accessibility tests using the technique C42: Using min-height and min-width to ensure sufficient target spacing.

Another significant change in the WCAG 2.2 standards is the removal of Success Criterion Parsing 4.1.1, which was originally designed to address the difficulty of assistive technology in parsing HTML directly. As assistive technology has advanced, this method of parsing is no longer necessary and with its removal, invalid HTML will no longer lead to accessibility failures.

Websites that conform to WCAG 2.2 automatically conform to both 2.1 and 2.0 standards, with the exception of any issues under the removed Criterion ‘Parsing’. For organisations that are required to conform to 2.1 by policy, W3C recommends that they can still update to 2.2, but may need to continue testing for parsing issues. Sitemorse users will still be able to view any failures caused by invalid HTML within the Code Quality section of our reports.

In addition to the WCAG 2.2 update, we have also increased our coverage of existing WCAG rules through the implementation of new tests, and we have reorganised how some of our tests are categorised against WCAG techniques. This has resulted in diagnostics now being supported under the following additional techniques:

ARIA11: Using ARIA landmarks to identify regions of a page
ARIA13: Using aria-labelledby to name regions and landmarks
ARIA14: Using aria-label to provide an invisible label where a visible label cannot be used
ARIA16: Using aria-labelledby to provide a name for user interface controls
C36: Allowing for text spacing override
F16: Failure of Success Criterion 2.2.2 due to including scrolling content where movement is not essential to the activity without also including a mechanism to pause and restart the content
F54: Failure of Success Criterion 2.1.1 due to using only pointing-device-specific event handlers (including gesture) for a function
G1: Adding a link at the top of each page that goes directly to the main content area
G108: Using markup features to expose the name and role, allow user-settable properties to be directly set, and provide notification of changes
G17: Ensuring that a contrast ratio of at least 7:1 exists between text (and images of text) and background behind the text
G18: Ensuring that a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 exists between text (and images of text) and background behind the text
H39: Using caption elements to associate data table captions with data tables
H48: Using ol, ul and dl for lists or groups of links
H58: Using language attributes to identify changes in the human language
H63: Using the scope attribute to associate header cells and data cells in data tables
H69: Providing heading elements at the beginning of each section of content
H91: Using HTML form controls and links

Furthermore, in this upgrade, we’ve improved our reporting to reduce occurrences where a single issue results in reported failures of multiple techniques. While this won’t impact the Sitemorse score, it provides clearer insights into areas that need improvement.

In our ongoing commitment to excellence in accessibility testing, this optimisation ensures that our assessments empower you to create digital experiences that are inclusive and compliant with the latest WCAG standards. Expect further updates as we continue to enhance and expand our accessibility testing capabilities.