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WCAG Priority AAA

W3C WCAG 2.2 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines AAA

Website Accessibility Standards 2.2 Priority AAA

This set of building regs for websites, according to the WCAG, are the standards a website could achieve. As they put it, "A Web content developer *may* satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents." (https://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist). This is Version 1 of the Priority A Website Accessibility Standards and it dates back to 1999. 

Version 2.2 of this Standard was released in October 2023 and is described by WCAG in the following way: "This conformance level is used in most accessibility rules and regulations around the world, including the ADA. To meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA conformance, the website is usable and understandable for the majority of people with or without disabilities."

What does AAA aim to achieve?

Priority AAA standards can, for the main, be seen as demonstrating a true willingness to provide alternatives, particularly with media content such as video. For example, if there is a video which has background music, there might be an option to turn the background music off or reduce it to a certain level. There should be, for example, a way for the visitor to choose a different set of foreground/background colours that was easier for them to read. Text itself should be formatted in a certain way to ensure clear readability. Justified text, for example, is more difficult to read than standard, left-justified text,

Why it is important now?

Level AAA includes all Level A and AA requirements. If you have read the Priority AA page, which you can also read by following this link, you will be aware that some web designers have a fundamental misunderstanding of the website accessibility standards. This is because they will have read the UK Government guidance and followed it slavishly without taking the time to understand how the three different standards are related to each other.

Although it was not explicitly specified in the original UK Disability Discrimination Act, it has generally been accepted that Priority A was seen as the minimum level of compliance needed to ensure that a website was not seen as in breach of this Act. The UK Government, in line with many other Governments around the world, has raised this threshold to include Priority AA as well as Priority A. As night follows day, it is inevitable that the next step will be for Priority AAA to be included. After all, how many cases in history are there of legislation becoming easier to conform to and standards being lowered?

Given that, it seems obvious to us that achieving all three standards is good practice as it protects you from additional work in the future, as well as giving your visitors a more inclusive experience. We always include Priority AAA in our website accessibility audits and encourage the web designers to look to achieve that if they can.

If you would like to find out more about how you could achieve this higher level of website accessibility, please get in touch with us for a free 15 minute consultation by following this link.