Why I’m sticking with WCAG1… for now

There has been much chatter since AGIMO released a statement that they were endorsing WCAG2. A few clients have asked me whether now is the right time to move to WCAG2. My belief is that the time is not right… yet.

The Disability Discrimination Act still requires compliance to WCAG1

Legally, we are required to follow the requirements of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The DDA recommends compliance to WCAG1, Level AA. It may be some time before the AHRC endorses WCAG2.

The Whole of Victorian Government Web Standard requires compliance to WCAG1

For Victorian Government departments and agencies, web sites fall under the Whole of Victorian Government Web Standard. This Web Standard requires compliance to WCAG1, Level AA.

AGIMO is still to release an implementation document on WCAG2

In stating that AGIMO will release an implementation document, they are indicating that further information needs to be provided to the web community on exactly how to comply with  WCAG2. Hopefully, it will answer some pertinent questions such as:

  • Is it necessary for pages to validate?
  • Are there any advisory techniques we should follow? (for example, to assist people with cognitive disabilities – a group under-represented in WCAG1 and WCAG2)
  • Are tables for layout acceptable?

AGIMO and the AHRC have to make some policy decisions regarding WCAG2

WCAG2 requires policy makers such as AGIMO and AHRC to decide on the suitability of certain technologies such as PDFs, JavaScript, Flash and Java. Neither AGIMO nor the AHRC have released any information on this.

Compliance with WCAG2 will not be required until December 2012

(And according to the Mayan calendar we’ll all be dead by then…)
Sites will not need to be compliant with WCAG2 for almost three years. Thus sites can remain compliant to WCAG1 until then. This gives companies time to fully assess WCAG2 and how it will affect their web site, as well as providing time for AGIMO and the AHRC to make some policy decisions.

A WCAG1 compliant site is accessible to people with disabilities

WCAG2 has only recently been released and there has not been much testing to ensure that it fully addresses issues of people with disabilities (such as people with cognitive disabilities). WCAG1 is 11 years old, and although it has its problems, it is a proven method to ensuring the accessibility of a web site.

In conclusion…

This is my current advice to my clients, who have their own specific set of circumstances. I will, in the near future, start recommending the use of WCAG2. However at this stage I do not believe there is enough information available to support developers in complying with WCAG2.

9 thoughts on “Why I’m sticking with WCAG1… for now

  1. Kerry Webb says:

    Fair comments, but I’d add one minor correction:

    AHRC recommends WCAG 1 AA, rather than requires it.

    1. Gian says:

      Good pick up – have changed accordingly

  2. Roger Hudson says:

    Thanks Gian, food for thought, although I hold slightly differing views. I understand your reservations but hope we move to full WCAG2 AA asap. Like you, I am concerned about the lack of emphasis given to cognitive and learning disorders in WCAG2 and hope AGIMO and AHRC decide to require the AAA Success Criteria that go someway towards meeting these needs.

  3. […] Why I’m sticking with WCAG1… for now […]

  4. Jason Grant says:

    I keep meaning to re-read WCAG2.0 as I really ought to be much more up to date with it than I am currently.

    This is a fair enough post about WCAG1.0, especially when talking about Government services, which is fair enough.

  5. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by CherylHardy: Why Gian Wild is sticking with WCAG1 for now http://bit.ly/b2Llr2

  6. Peter says:

    Thanks fr your thoughts Gina, we’re working on a project to make it WCAG2.0 compliant but having a think about it now.

    Also subscribed to your RSS

  7. […] Why I’m sticking with WCAG1… for now « Gian Wild’s blog A WCAG1 compliant site is accessible to people with disabilities […]

  8. […] wanting to know if they should be trying to comply with WCAG1 or WCAG2. They had read my article: Why I’m sticking with WCAG1… for now, and wanted to check if my opinion still held. I wrote that post a little over a year ago, and […]

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