The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) working group have released a quick reference document for WCAG 2.0 to make it easier to understand the guidelines. The document can be customised to include technologies that are used, and whether or not they are in the baseline, as well as allowing people to view success criteria for particular levels.
Author: Gez Lemon
Technology Neutral Guidelines
Talking to some of the delegates at this year's @media conference, most people's concern with WCAG 2.0 is that because it is technology neutral, some of the success criteria can be difficult to understand. The checkpoints in WCAG 1.0 are for HTML, so use technology specific language to describe how to satisfy the checkpoints. Because of the rapid growth of the Web, and the rate that technologies are released, there is a requirement for the guidelines to be technology neutral. Maintaining guidelines for different technologies would result in a significant lag between technologies being released and guidance on making those technologies accessible being made available, which obviously isn't acceptable. Whilst technology neutral guidelines and success criteria help resolve the problem of a lag, it inevitably results in guidelines that need to be interpreted for a particular technology.
Quick Reference Document
To help ensure the guidelines are easy to apply to a particular technology, the working group have put together a quick reference document that can be customised to the technologies used, and also to display success criteria for particular levels; for example, someone may wish to only review level 1 and level 2 success criteria for HTML using CSS.
The quick reference document includes common technologies that are used on the web, such as HTML, CSS, media formats, SMIL, scripting, and applet technologies. The document can be customised to indicate whether you use a particular technology at all, and if you do use a particular technology, whether or not that technology is included in your baseline. If you use a technology, but that technology is not included in your baseline, then the document will include common failures from using that technology if any exist. If you use a technology that is also included in your baseline, then the document will include techniques that can be used to help satisfy success criteria where appropriate, along with common technologies. If you don't use a particular technology at all, then techniques and failures for that document are not included.
The quick reference document makes it very simple to understand WCAG 2.0, particularly those already familiar with WCAG 1.0.