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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of guidelines for making digital content more accessible for people with disabilities.

Looking for an easy way to get started with WCAG?

What does WCAG mean for you as an app developer?

Don't be fooled by the name, these guidelines also apply to apps. But not all of them. Which guidelines apply to your specific situation depends on where in the world your app is available. The way in which accessibility is guaranteed and mandated by the government differs considerably per region. The specific way the WCAG is incorporated into local law determines what you need to do to make your app comply. Following are the most well-known implementations of the WCAG. Followed by an explanation of the WCAG structure and an overview of all the guidelines.

  • The flag of the European Union

    EN 301 549

    EN 301 549 is the European standard which describes requirements which apps must meet in order to be accessible.

    EN 301 549 overview
  • The flag of the United States of America

    Section 508

    Section 508 requires United States federal agencies to make their apps accessible for everyone.

    Section 508 overview

WCAG structure

Version 2.1 of the WCAG consists of 4 principles, 13 guidelines and 78 success criteria. The success criteria are divided into three levels of conformance.

  1. Level A: sets a minimum level of accessibility. There are 30 criteria to meet. If your app does not conform with level A, it may have serious accessibility issues. This will likely prevent users with disabilities from being able to use it.

  2. Level AA: sets a strong level of accessibility. There are 20 criteria to meet, plus 30 criteria at level A. When your app conforms to level AA, users with disabilities will likely be able to use it.

  3. Level AAA: sets the highest level of accessibility. There are 28 criteria to meet, plus 50 criteria at level A and AA. Note: it's not possible to satisfy level AAA for all content.

We recommend meeting at least level AA, and level AAA where possible.

The image below shows the structure of the WCAG 2.1. Criteria marked with a star (*) are excluded in EN 301 549.

Overview of the structure of WCAG 2.1, which consists of 4 principles, 13 guidelines and 78 success criteria


The list below contains links to our guides for each principle, guideline and success criterion.



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