WCAG 2 Overview
This page introduces the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) international standard, including WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, and WCAG 2.2. WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.
Quick links to resources:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 is developed through the W3C process
in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web “content” generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:
- natural information such as text, images, and sounds
- code or markup that defines structure, presentation, etc.
WCAG 2.0, 2.1, 2.2
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards are stable and referenceable; they do not change after they are published.
All requirements (“success criteria”) from 2.0 are included in 2.1. The 2.0 success criteria are exactly the same (verbatim, word-for-word) in 2.1.
All requirements in 2.0 and 2.1 will be included in 2.2. The wording of the 2.0 and 2.1 success criteria will be exactly the same in 2.2.
Content that conforms to WCAG 2.1 also conforms to WCAG 2.0.
And content that conforms to WCAG 2.2 will also conform to 2.1 and 2.0. (This is often called “backwards compatible”.) A website that meets WCAG 2.1 or 2.2 should meet the requirements of policies that reference WCAG 2.0. To put it another way: If you want to meet both WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1, you can use the 2.1 resources and you don’t need to bother looking at 2.0.
WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 are both existing standards. WCAG 2.1 does not deprecate or supersede WCAG 2.0. W3C encourages you to use the most recent version of WCAG when developing or updating content or accessibility policies.
Who WCAG is for
WCAG is primarily intended for:
- Web content developers (page authors, site designers, etc.)
- Web authoring tool developers
- Web accessibility evaluation tool developers
- Others who want or need a standard for web accessibility, including for mobile accessibility
To meet the needs of others — including policy makers, managers, and researchers — there are many different WAI Resources
What is in WCAG 2
The success criteria are what determine “conformance” to WCAG. That is, in order to meet WCAG, the content needs to meet the success criteria. Details are in the Conformance section of WCAG
Supporting material and supplemental guidance
The following resources help you understand and implement WCAG, and improve accessibility beyond WCAG:
- Quick Reference / How to Meet WCAG 2 / Checklist
- Understanding WCAG 2
- Techniques for WCAG 2
- Test Rules for WCAG 2
- Supplemental Guidance
Authorized Translations and unofficial translations of WCAG 2 are listed in WCAG 2 Translations
WCAG 2.0 is ISO/IEC 40500
WCAG 2.0 is approved as an ISO standard: ISO/IEC 40500:2012. ISO/IEC 40500 is exactly the same as the original WCAG 2.0, which is introduced above along with supporting resources.
Benefits of WCAG 2.0 as an ISO standard are summarized in ISO in the FAQ
. More information on W3C and the ISO process is in the W3C PAS FAQ
Who develops WCAG
The WCAG technical documents are developed by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG
) (formerly the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group)
, which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C
) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI
WCAG 3 and More Information
WCAG is part of a series of accessibility guidelines, including the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG). Essential Components of Web Accessibility
explains the relationship between the different guidelines.
For information on the early draft of W3C Accessibility Guidelines 3.0 (formerly known as “Sliver”), see the WCAG 3 Introduction
Please share your ideas, suggestions, or comments via e-mail to the publicly-archived list email@example.com
or via GitHub.
Date: Updated 6 August 2022. First published July 2005.
Developed with input from the Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG
) and the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG
Strategies, standards, and supporting resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.