WCAG Guidelines, Section 508 and ADA

Anil Verma
3 min readAug 6, 2023

The WCAG was founded through W3C, which itself was founded in 1994 by an international community of organizations, staff, and the public. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative is aimed at developing a common set of website accessibility standards for internet users.

What are the different WCAG levels A, AA, and AAA?

WCAG A — Level A is the most basic level of accessibility conformance and includes 3/5ths of the legal requirements. There are 30 success criteria in WCAG 2.1 A.

WCAG AA — Level AA is the second level of conformance. There are 20 success criteria in WCAG 2.1 AA. The ADA and Section 508 standards require both Level A (30 success criteria) and Level AA (20 success criteria).

WCAG AAA — Level AAA is the third and most advanced level of conformance. There are 28 success criteria in WCAG 2.1 AAA.

Level A Checklist(Few Of them)

  1. Provide a “Skip to Content” link
  2. Helpful and clear page title
  3. Logical Order
  4. Every link’s purpose is clear from its context
  5. Users can perform touch functions with assistive technology or one finger
  6. The name contains the text that is presented visually
  7. Functions that are trigged by moving a device or by gesturing towards a device can also be operated by more conventional user interface components
  8. Page has a language assigned
  9. Elements do not change when they receive focus
  10. Clearly identify input errors
  11. Label elements and give instructions

Level AA Checklist(Few Of them)

  1. Live videos have captions
  2. Users have access to audio description for video content
  3. High contrast between pieces of text and their backgrounds
  4. Ensuring content visible on hover or keyboard focus does not lead to accessibility issues
  5. Don’t use images of text
  6. Text can be resized to 200% without loss of content or function
  7. Contrast ratio between text and background is at least 4.5:1
  8. Ensure common names are provided using the HTML autocomplete list
  9. Use clear headings and labels
  10. Reduce the risk of input errors for sensitive data
  11. Distances between paragraphs, rows, words and characters must be able to be increased to a certain value

Level AAA Checklist(Few Of them)

  1. Provide sign language translations for videos
  2. Provide extended audio description for videos
  3. Anticipates the release of cognitive metadata to be used with assistive technology to simply interfaces
  4. Save user data when re-authenticating
  5. Users need to be warned of the duration of any inactivity that could cause data loss
  6. Accessible by keyboard only, without exception
  7. Provide detailed help and instructions
  8. Motion animation triggered by interaction can be disabled
  9. Explain any abbreviations
  10. The size of the target for pointer inputs is at least 44 x 44 CSS pixels
  11. Users with nine years of school can read your content

What is ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of their disabilities. It works towards a simple goal — ensuring that people with disabilities get the same opportunities and rights as everyone else.

Section 508

Section 508 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act, and hence, a federal law.

As per the law, any technology is considered to be accessible if people with disabilities can use it with the same effectiveness and ease as people without.

Difference Between WCAG, Section 508 and ADA

The key difference between WCAG, Section 508, and ADA lies in how they prioritize different aspects of web operations vis-à-vis compliance toward a more accessible digital space. In some cases, the WCAG has more stringent standards, in some others, it could be Section 508 or the ADA.

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Anil Verma

Hi there 👋, I am Anil Verma, a full stack web developer, and JavaScript enthusiast. 👥 Ask me anything about web development. web- https://anilvermaspeaks.in/