Exploring WCAG 2.1 for Australian government services

Since the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 were released in June we’ve received questions about how to approach the development of government services to meet these updated accessibility guidelines.

Accessibility is everyone's responsibility

WCAG 2.1 was released by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — the international organisation that develops web standards — and includes 17 additional WCAG criteria.

The additional criteria address accessibility issues when using mobile technology, and ensures services are able to meet the needs of people with low vision and those with cognitive and learning disabilities. They also recognise specific areas of technology advancement and the needs of more diverse users. This includes users who don’t speak English as a first language.

The DTA is exploring the new updates by testing our Design System and our beta website against the updated WCAG 2.1 AA criteria. We suggest other government agencies do the same, and we will use what we learn to share as DTA guidance.

The majority of the new criteria cover best practices many web developers and teams have already been incorporating. Some were inferred from WCAG 2.0 criteria but are now made explicit. Below are the topics covered by the new criteria along with links to the full text on the W3C website:

WCAG, accessibility and inclusivity are often topics of discussion in our communities of practice. Get involved by joining our Content Design and Design System communities.

You may also find the following W3C resources helpful: