Hang on a sec – there’s a WCAG 2.1 in the works? Don’t panic! Let’s break down what we can expect and how this will affect our design, development, and testing processes. First of all, the WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria are meant to add to the existing WCAG 2.0 success criteria. And if you didn't know, WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. They were released by the W3 consortium back in 2008 – way back when I still had a flip phone. Since the first iPhone was only released in 2007, though, there were still plenty of folks without smartphones, and there wasn’t much of a need for mobile guidelines. Who could have known how ubiquitous mobile tech would become? Fast forward ten years to 2018 – smartphones, tablets, watches – mobile devices are everywhere. As of this writing, WCAG 2.1 contains 17 new Success Criteria (SC), and addresses some of the gaps left by the WCAG 2.0 requirements for mobile, along guidelines for issues relating to cognitive disorders and low-vision users. They fill in gaps and help to ensure that even more people can successfully navigate and interact with websites. If you want to read the new guidelines, they are available publicly, and contain A, AA, and AAA success criteria. The W3C has made this a very open process, inviting public comments and suggestions in order to ensure the end result fills the needs as intended. WCAG 2.1 is intended as a stopgap to fill obvious holes in the current regulations with regards to newer technologies like smartphones and tablets while WCAG 3.0 is in the works. WCAG 2.0 was a significant change over WCAG 1.0, and it’s looking like WCAG 3.0 will be an even larger restructuring of accessibility requirements. And now with VR, AI, and the IOT (Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things) this makes perfect sense; our world and online interactions have changed drastically in the last decade, and the legal landscape just hasn’t kept up. So, to be clear, all the WCAG 2.0 requirements we are familiar with will still be in effect; the WCAG 2.1 requirements will be additions to the existing requirements. Over the next few weeks, we will discuss each of the guidelines, how they build on the WCAG 2.0 success criteria, and what we need to be cognizant of in future development efforts. In the meantime, go take a look at the new criteria. Visit the github comment repository. Let’s continue to make the digital world a more inclusive place.