Website Accessibility Updates Website Owners Need to Know

When creating a website for your business, it is important to consider if it is accessible to all of the individuals who may use it. Some visitors may use a screen reader and/or alternative input devices; this means that they will interact with your website differently than users interact with a traditional mobile device or computer.

In August 2023, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 were released, which aimed to improve accessibility online for users with disabilities. By complying with these guidelines, you can reduce likelihood of lawsuits, improve your SEO, and provide an overall better user experience to any visitors. Below, we will outline the A and AA success criteria outlined in WCAG 2.2 that your website should reflect in order to improve accessibility.

New Success Criteria in WCAG 2.2 Includes:

  • Focus Not Obscured: When a pop up, banner, chat window, sticky header, or other element appears on your webpage, it can not obscure an element that is receiving focus. An element receives focus when a user “selects” it using the tab key; generally, this is noted by a faint square appearing around the element. Pop ups, banners, chat windows, and other elements that can hide clickable components must be closed before users are able to move focus to units that would be obscured. This assists visitors who utilize screen readers to have full knowledge of the clickable elements on your website.
  • Dragging Movements: Any interface on your website that uses drag and drop movements—such as moving an element, swiping on an image carousel, and more—must be achievable with a single pointer without dragging. This assists users who use a screen reader or have limited mobility use your website.
  • Target Size: This criteria ensures that elements on your website are easy to click on, which is not only helpful for individuals using accessibility devices but mobile users as well. The minimum size for any element is now 24 pixels by 24 pixels. This can also include the surrounding space without adjacent targets; for example, a 20 pixel by 20 pixel button with a surrounding space of 2 pixels on all sides meets the criteria, but maintaining a 24 pixel by 24 pixel size, not including surrounding space, is best practice. This requirement includes buttons, dropdowns, and more; anything that can be clicked on your website. Inline text and map pins are not included.
  • Consistent Help: Information that is meant to be helpful to users—such as contact information, a chat window, etc.—must be consistent in its location on your website. For example, if the chat window appears in the lower right corner of your website on the home page, it should appear in the same location for other pages as well.
  • Redundant Entry: Once a user inputs information, such as an email address, mailing address, credit card information, and more, your website should not require them to input this information again. Instead, your website should auto-populate the information or make it available to select if it is required to be entered again.
  • Accessible Authentication: When using authentication methods, such as CAPTCHA or two factor authentication (2FA), websites are not permitted to use cognitive tests, such as puzzles or math questions. These may be difficult or impossible for users to complete, particularly those who have difficulty with memory, reading, numeracy, or perceptual processing. CAPTCHA authentication that requires similar images to be selected are allowed, as well as 2FA methods that allow for copy/paste for emailed codes, QR code scanning, or device notifications.

Ready to Make Your Website Accessible?

At Mannix Marketing, we know how important it is to have a high-quality and accessible website. Our team of experienced programmers are ready to help build you the website of your dreams. For more information, contact us today or give us a call at 518-743-9424. Please note that we are not lawyers and this is not legal advice.

About Alex Hicks

Alex joined the Mannix Marketing team in August of 2023 as a Digital Marketing & SEO Strategist. Alex graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration with a major in Marketing and minor in Digital Studies. Their previous experience includes work within search engine optimization, content writing, and data analytics/communication. They live in Grand Rapids, MI with their fiancé and cat. In their spare time, Alex can be found at local craft markets, playing DND, or trying out a new coffee shop.