On February 27, W3C published a working draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2. This first draft includes one new success criterion, with more expected to be added in future drafts.
WCAG 2.1, published in June 2018, is the most current W3C recommendation for creating content that is accessible to people with disabilities. Compared with WCAG 2.1, the published draft of WCAG 2.2 states:
WCAG 2.2 was initiated with the goal to continue the work of WCAG 2.1: Improving accessibility guidance for three major groups: users with cognitive or learning disabilities, users with low vision, and users with disabilities on mobile devices.
WCAG 2.2 is also backwards-compatible with WCAG 2.1, which itself was backwards-compatible with WCAG 2.0. Because the versions are building on and not replacing their predecessors, if you comply with one you automatically comply with the previous versions of WCAG 2.
In this first published draft, on which comments are welcome by March 23, 2020, there is one new Level AA success criterion, 2.4.11 Focus Visible (Enhanced), which states:
When a User Interface Component displays a visible keyboard focus, all of the following are true:
Minimum area: The focus indication area is greater than or equal to the longest side of the bounding rectangle of the focused control, times 2 CSS pixels.
Focus contrast: Color changes used to indicate focus have at least a 3:1 contrast ratio with the colors changed from the unfocused control.
Contrast or thickness: The focus indication area has a 3:1 contrast ratio against all adjacent colors for the minimum area or greater, or has a thickness of at least 2 CSS pixels.
In addition to the new success criterion, the existing checkpoint for keyboard focus indication is changed in WCAG 2.2 to Level A, from Level AA in WCAG 2.1 and 2.0. This change in compliance level to 2.4.7 Focus Visible would formalize that a visible indicator is required to meet even the most basic level of accessibility.
Keyboard focus indication allows keyboard users to know which element on a page is receiving focus, in order to know where they are on the page and what action will be triggered if they make a selection. Read: Give Yourself an Accessibility Test: Don't Use a Mouse.
The WCAG 2.2 draft is published by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group. After review and revision periods, it's expected to become a W3C Recommendation.
For over twenty years, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have provided an actionable framework for making content more accessible to people with disabilities. "Rarely does a single document have such a direct impact on people’s lives, but the guidance that WCAG provides allows developers and content creators to include people who have historically been excluded from digital experiences," said Mark Shapiro, President of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility.
To learn more about the history of WCAG and its impact, read: