Day 73: Striving for WCAG Level AAA, Part 2

Carrying on from Part 1, today I spent time with the Operable Level AAA criteria. There are a few, I feel, that should be on a lower conformance level, as well as best practice for web designers.

Things I accomplished

  • Read Operable’s Level AAA success criteria on How to Meet WCAG 2 site.
  • Mapped success criteria to failures of those criteria.

What I learned today

There are 12 Level AAA criteria under Operable:

  • 2.1.3 Keyboard (no exception)
  • 2.2.3 No timing
  • 2.2.4 Interruptions
  • 2.2.5 Re-authenticating
  • 2.2.6 Timeouts (new in 2.1)
  • 2.3.2 Three flashes
  • 2.3.3 Animation from interactions (new in 2.1)
  • 2.4.8 Location
  • 2.4.9 Link purpose (link only)
  • 2.4.10 Section headings
  • 2.5.5 Target size (new in 2.1)
  • 2.5.6 Concurrent input mechanisms (new in 2.1)

Examples of Operable Level AAA failures

SC 2.1.3 Keyboard (no exception) Fail: Div element has been scripted to be clickable, but is not identified as a link to assistive technology. This makes custom page navigation more difficult for people who use screen readers or voice input.

SC 2.2.3 No timing Fail: Web app forces a time limit on the user. This can make use of the web app harder for people with cognitive or motor impairments.

SC 2.2.4 Interruptions Fail: User is not given an option to delay or request non-emergency updates. Interruptions can be disorienting for a person who uses a screen reader when their cursor focus is forced elsewhere.

SC 2.2.5 Re-authenticating Fail: Form data is not saved when the user is timed out of a session. This can be frustrating for people who have motor or cognitive impairments.

SC 2.2.6 Timeouts (new in 2.1) Fail: Users are not explicitly warned about data loss due to inactivity time limits.

SC 2.3.2 Three flashes Fail: A video on the page contains three or more flashes in a 1-second period. This can greatly affect people who are prone to seizures.

SC 2.3.3 Animation from interactions (new in 2.1) Fail: Decorative animation that occurs when a user interacts with an element does not have a “reduce motion” option for users to turn it off. Animation can cause nausea for people with vestibular disorders and distraction for people with attention disorders.

Side note: This concept introduced me to the Reduced Motion media query. Before today, I didn’t know that existed!

SC 2.4.8 Location Fail: Users page location within that website is not evident. Breadcrumbs, sitemap, nor highlighted navigation bar has not been provided. This affects people with attention disabilities (as well as everyone else).

My two-cents: This seems like it should be good practice and common courtesy to help everyone find their way around your site. I had no idea it was Level AAA and have considered using breadcrumbs as part of business as usual when I build more pages for large sites.

SC 2.4.9 Link purpose (link only) Fail: Generic and unclear text is provided within hyperlinks. This can be confusing for people who use screen readers and voice input, as well as those with cognitive disabilities.

SC 2.4.10 Section headings Fail: Text-heavy content and instructions are provided on a page without any additional headings to segment sections of text for clarity. This greatly affects people with visual and cognitive disabilities.

Confession: This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and I often feel this should be part of best practice for web designers. It especially irritates me when I see lists nested within lists, but not headings are provided to chunk and clarify content areas that are text-rich. Please make your page more navigable for everyone by including section headings.

SC 2.5.5 Target size (new in 2.1) Fail: Interactive buttons and customized links are less than 44×44 pixels. This can make it especially hard for people with motor disabilities to activate the button or link.

Added note: this is already making its way into mobile web app best practice, which is where I was first introduced to this concept. I’m happy to see it considered as an accessibility issue, too.

SC 2.5.6 Concurrent input (new in 2.1) mechanisms Fail: Interactive components on a page restrict input from other input devices other than touch. Therefore, this restricts who uses that page because people of all abilities use their input device (or devices) of choice.