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
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.
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.