Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a global collaboration on technical standards to make the web more accessible to all individuals, everywhere.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has laid out everything about WCAG standards that a website needs to adhere to in order to be accessible.

This global standards organization put together the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG because they know the power of equal access to online content is made available to everyone.

WCAG is centered around four main accessibility principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust that are then further divided into 12 specific guidelines.

Following WCAG guidelines help make content more accessible to people experiencing blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, as well as for those with cognitive impairment and learning disabilities.

It’s important for FIU to stay current with accessibility laws and practices.

Compliance allows our student, faculty, and staff stakeholders to fully experience our amazing content, drawing in larger, and more diverse participants.

Outlined here are the four main components of the WCAG 2.0 checklist, making it easy to quickly recognize what accessibility changes need to be made.

WCAG 2.0 Web Accessibility Checklist 


WCAG 2.0 Standard: “Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.” 

  • Text alternatives
    • Users can access a text alternative that serves an equivalent purpose for all non-text content (e.g. images, video) 
    • Closed Captions or Subtitles are included for all video and audio content  
    • A thorough audio description is included for all audio elements, including information about speakers and background noise, where relevant 
    • Sign language interpretation is provided for all audio and video content 
    • If non-text content is primarily intended to create a specific sensory experience, then text alternatives at least provide descriptive identification of the non-text content
    • CAPTCHA: If the purpose of non-text content is to confirm that content is being accessed by a person rather than a computer, then text alternatives that identify and describe the purpose of the non-text content are provided, and alternative forms of CAPTCHA using output modes for different types of sensory perception are provided to accommodate different disabilities
  • Adaptability
    • Users can access content in a number of different ways, including the use of assistive tools like screen readers
    • Content is organized in simple formats like outlines or structured walkthroughs 
    • Content structure and organization can be programmatically determined–that is, interpreted from markup language or API choice via assistive technology 
    • Understanding and operating content does not rely on solely on sensory characteristics such as shape, size, visual location, orientation or sound 
  • Distinguishable
    • Users can identify which elements of a website are most pertinent for their needs
    • Site elements and sections are clearly defined, both on the front-end and in HTML tags and structure
    • Color is not the sole means used to convey meaning, structure, or purpose of content 
    • Contrast is used to clearly illustrate differences between site elements. *The minimum recommended contrast ratio for text and images is 4.5:1* 
    • For blocks of text, users can select appropriate foreground and background colors 
    • Text can be resized up to 200% via browser or assistive technology without losing content functionality or context 
    • Images of text are used only for decorative purposes 
    • If any audio on a web page plays automatically, a mechanism to pause, restart, or alter content volume is provided 


WCAG 2.0 Standard: “User interface components and navigation must be operable.” 

  • Keyboard Navigable
    • Users who can’t operate a mouse are given keyboard-based navigation options 
    • Keyboard navigation options should not be time-bound for specific keystrokes 
    • Tabbing moves the cursor or site focus from section-to-section 
  • Enough Time
    • Users can access media at their own pace 
    • Ample time is provided for task completion, and where applicable, users can turn off a time limit before encountering it 
    • Pausing is enabled for timed tasks 
    • Users can alter the speed of content playback 
    • Interruptions to the content presentation are postponed or suppressed entirely 
  • Seizures
    • Users prone to seizures should be warned of flashing site elements  
    • Multiple pop-up warnings are used 
    • Web pages do not contain content that flashes more than three times per one second period 
  • Navigable
    • Web pages have titles that describe their topic or purpose  
    • More than one way is available to locate a web page, except where the page is the result of, or a step in, a process 
    • Information about a user’s location within a set of web pages is available to help them orient themselves 


WCAG 2.0 Standard: “Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.” 

  • Readable
    • The default language of each Web page is specified within the underlying HTML header code 
    • Translation is supported for unusual or colloquial words and phrases 
    • A mechanism for identifying the expanded meaning of abbreviations is included
    • A less-difficult version of prose is included for all content above a lower-secondary reading level 
  • Predictable
    • Content on a page adheres to a central organization that doesn’t change when a user engages with or focuses on a particular element of the page  
    • Navigation patterns are consistent across a site 
  • Input Assistance
    • Error-correction and detection mechanisms are used to assist users entering information to forms or other input points 
    • Predictive text for input fields to help offer alternatives when errors in user input are detected 
    • Comprehensive, text-based help is offered for all areas of your site, particularly those where users have to enter information 
    • For web pages that cause legal commitment or financial transactions: Submissions are reversible (where possible) and given ample opportunity to be checked and reviewed by the user 


WCAG 2.0 Standard: “Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. “ 

  • Compatible¬†

    In content implemented using markup languages, elements have complete start and end tags, elements are nested according to their specifications, elements do not contain duplicate attributes, and any IDs are unique, except where the specifications allow these features. 

WCAG video checklist

  • Video player
    • Is the video player accessible (i.e. there are no keyboard traps)? 
    • Can the video player be started and operated using the keyboard? 
    • Does the video start only at the viewer's request and not automatically? 
    • If the video starts automatically, is there a mechanism to pause or stop the video at the start of the page before the video?  
    • Can the video volume be modified?  
    • Can the video volume be modified with the mouse? 
    • Can the video volume be modified with the keyboard? 
    • If the video provides a text alternative is it labeled as such? 
    • Is the video or video alternative available when Flash is disabled? 
    • Is the video functional with style sheets disabled?  
    • Does the video remain in the correct page sequence when style sheets are disabled?  
    • When JavaScript is disabled, do links reliant on JavaScript become hidden? Can the accessible alternative to the video be accessed when JavaScript is disabled?  
    • Are links to the video files descriptive?  
    • Can you select a video without causing a change prior to the current focus?  
    • Does the video exclude flashing content that flashes more than three times per second? 
  • Captions

    Level A

    • Do videos include captions?
    • Do captions include all dialogue and important sound effects?
    • Do captions only contain information in the video (i.e.do not contain additional content not in the video)?

    Level AA

    • Is the color contrast of the video captions sufficient?
  • Transcripts
    • Do videos have transcripts?   
    • Is the video transcript link clear?  
    • Does the video transcript provide equivalent information to the video? 
    • Does the video transcript only contain information in the video (i.e. not information that is not included in the video)? 
    • Is the video transcript accessible? 
    • Is the video transcript or a link to the transcript immediately before or after the video?  
    • Is the end of transcript marked if it is on the same page as the video? 
    • Does the video transcript (when on a different page to the video) provide a method of returning back to the original video? 
    • Do interactive transcripts keep track with the video content? 
    • Is the current position in the interactive transcript available when style sheets are disabled?  
    • Can the current position in the interactive transcript be determined without relying on color (i.e. isn’t marked with color alone)? 
  • Audio Descriptions
    • Do videos have audio descriptions?