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Accessibility & WCAG 2.2 Compliance

What is WCAG?

WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It is an international standard composed of documents explaining how to make web content more accessible to people with special educational needs.

Current version of the recommendation – WCAG 2.2 – covers a wide range of guidelines to make content accessible for people with blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech impairment, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. These guidelines address the accessibility of eContent on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.


What is WCAG 2.2?

It is the latest set of guidelines published in October 2023. WCAG 2.2 recommendation will provide additional Success Criteria, the implementation of which still concentrates on improving accessibility for users with various disabilities.

What are AB 434, Ley N° 26.653, IDEA, ADA, AODA, eMAG, INADI, SENADIS?

These acronyms represent national and regional regulations, standards, and institutions related to digital accessibility in North and South American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and the USA. They are all based on and aligned with respective versions of WCAG. We invite you to view the webinar on the subject below.


Main differences between WCAG 2.1 and 2.2. requirements

WCAG 2.1

Publication date: 05 June 2018
Purpose: To make digital content more accessible to a wider range of people with impairments.
No. of Success Criteria: 78
Structure of document: A/AA/AAA
Recommended level of conformance: WCAG 2.1 AA
Entity responsible: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Source document: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/

WCAG 2.2

Publication date: Published in October 2023
Purpose: To make digital content more accessible to a wider range of people with impairments following the changing technology and needs.
No. of Success Criteria: 87
Structure of document: A/AA/AAA
Recommended level of conformance: WCAG 2.1 AA
Entity responsible: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Source document: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG22/
The UK government requirements: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/understanding-wcag

European Accessibility Act – the new binding law based on WCAG

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) introduces minimum accessibility requirements for a range of products and services provided by public and private sector organizations operating in European Union Member States.

The scope of the Accessibility Act primarily focuses on digital products and services, including websites, platforms, digital content packages or eBooks. This implies that also educational publishers operating in European markets will need to adapt their existing digital products and eContent packages to meet the accessibility requirements outlined in the Act.

The EEA Directive indicates what is needed to be accessible (in terms of functional requirements) but does not state detailed technical solutions for making products accessible. It gives a gateway to the implementation of innovative solutions. Each EU Member state decides on the complexity of the transposition of EEA requirements into national law. Some of them can implement more restricted versions and others less so.

Although the national accessibility laws are not known yet, there are standards that will need to be implemented. The EEA is based on the European standard for technology accessibility in the public sector EN 301 549. This standard has adopted the WCAG 2.2 which covers the accessibility of web content, electronic documents, and non-web software. It means that the implementation of the WCAG 2.2 to a newly created product is inevitable.

June 28, 2025, is the deadline for all educational publishers in the European Union to ensure their educational digital content complies with WCAG 2.2

Furthermore, if you operate in the United Kingdom, the timeline is much tighter. The UK Government Digital Service (GDS) will begin monitoring eContent of public services for these new requirements in just 3 months (or less, depending on when you’re reading this), starting in October 2024. If you are a commercial educational publisher don’t fall behind. Ensure your digital content is accessible to all users.

October 2024 is the deadline for UK public services to comply with WCAG 2.2 for digital content

While legally mandated for the public sector, these guidelines benefit all organizations. Adoption of these standards by commercial organizations, especially educational publishers, will positively impact everyone involved in an educational journey. It can enhance students’ experience and engagement, broaden audience reach, and ensure compliance with broader accessibility standards. Why wait for regulators to force the standards when you can be a leader of educational digital accessibility? Leverage our 20+ years of expertise in creating accessible eContent and download our comprehensive guide


What features should WCAG and EEA compliant educational materials have?

To meet the accessibility criteria, a modern eContent product should meet the following requirements:

Alternative submission methods

All interactive exercises should include more than one alternative submission method for users to record a verbal answer or a written answer in the text if they cannot complete the exercise due to accessibility barriers.

Accessible design

  • Sufficient color contrast on all pages.
  • Avoid using color only to convey meaning.
  • Hierarchical heading structure.
  • Logical sequence through content on the page.
  • Alternative text for any non-text content.
  • Closed captioning and transcripts for video content.

Magnification + Reflow

Feature for low-vision learners who require the ability to resize text for comfortable reading. It allows them to enlarge the text while ensuring that the content remains visible on the screen without the need to scroll horizontally.

Text to speech

eContent should provide or support text-to-speech capability that converts written text into spoken words. It is not strictly focused on providing accessibility like Screen Reading technology.

Color & Contrast

The eContent should ensure a sufficient contrast ratio with the background. The text should have a contrast ratio with a background of 4.5:1 for small text and 3:1 for large text.

Dark mode

An optional dark theme option should support dyslexic readers by increasing contrast in all major functional and content areas.

Adjusted Audio content

It should be possible to control audio playback using the keyboard. The audio should not start with autoplay as the default option. Dynamic transcripts should be provided and highlighted as the audio is playing.

Enriched Video content

The video content should be enhanced with features like: video playback, speed and volume can be controlled by the user with the keyboard. Transcripts and closed captioning should be provided for all video content as standard with the possibility to turn them on or off.

Keyboard navigation

Users should have the ability to navigate the course content solely by using the keyboard. There is no need for a mouse or touchscreen gestures. The keyboard navigation should be synchronised with dedicated screen-reader capability to provide seamless operation of highly interactive web content.  

Native Screen-Reader

The highly functional or interactive eContent products should be equipped with specialized and customized assistive technology that provides comprehensive audio feedback that goes beyond reading the text aloud.  It should also provide information about the logical structure and functional elements of the user interface.

How Learnetic can help you ensure compliance?

Digital educational products are usually not just texts or media arranged on a page. In most cases, they have more or less complicated functionality in the form of various activities, interactive exercises, advanced presentations or complex simulations. In such a case, the standard accessibility agents or browser plugins that read the content of the computer screen are usually far from sufficient.

In order to ensure accessibility of such complex educational content they should be equipped with additional functionality. This approach may be very difficult because many digital educational contents were created long ago using technologies that did not take into account accessibility requirements.

In such situations, the best solution is to use our mAuthor – the most advanced authoring tool for creating highly interactive but still fully accessible educational content. Most of the functional modules available in mAuthor have built-in functionality ensuring accessibility, as well as mechanisms enabling the creation of digital content compliant with WCAG 2.2 requirements. 

Native Screen-Reading Technology

mAuthor – the world most powerful authoring tool – is complemented by our proprietary Screen-Reading Assistive Technology. Thanks to this approach, all functional modules used to build interactive content are automatically equipped with functionality that ensures accessibility and comprehensibility for all users. This approach makes the production of accessible interactive educational content much faster and more economically efficient.

Our focus on a native technology solution comes from recognizing the limitations of traditional open source screen readers or standard text-to-speech (TTS) systems. Such standard systems are insufficient to offer the full range of functionalities necessary for the implementation of advanced interactive educational digital products that can be operated by users with disabilities without any limitations.

Examples of WCAG – and EEA – compliant educational materials.

Try out all accessibility features implemented in the below samples which were created in mAuthor.

Switch on dark mode, check keyboard navigation and test screen reader. Use the keyboard shortcuts explained below or check each lesson’s menu on the top right of the screen.

  1. To turn on (off) the dedicated screen reader, a user has to use a keyboard shortcut Shift + Enter.
  2. To activate a selected element, press Enter, to deactivate it press Esc.
  3. Space induces interaction with the activated module.
  4. If navigation inside the module is possible, it is done using the Tab, Shift + Tab, and Arrows keys.
  5. Keys Shift + Right Arrow skip to the next page, Shift + Left Arrow return to the previous page.

  1. To turn on (off) the dedicated screen reader, a user has to use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Enter. Navigation between modules is done using Tab and Shift + Tab keys. To activate a selected module, press Enter, to deactivate it press Esc.
  2. Space induces interaction with the activated module.
  3. If navigation inside a module is possible, it is done using the Tab, Shift + Tab, and Arrows keys.
  4. Keys Shift + Right Arrow skip to the next page, Shift + Left Arrow return to the previous page.
  5. The dashed module border means that the module is selected but not active

Explore the examples:

Practical example

Watch a video demonstrating Accessibility features implemented in a series of ELT products that we developed for one of our partners, which were built in mAuthor with full implementation of its accessibility capabilities.

Download free resources

As a provider of advanced technologies designed to create WCAG-compliant educational eTextbooks, we share our knowledge on how to prepare them well according to new requirements.

Take a look at comprehensive eBooks that will guide you and your team step by step on how to change your publishing offer to make it fully accessible.

Or learn more about mAuthor – the most advanced authoring tool for creating highly interactive fully accessible educational content.

Did you know…?

Learnetic SA - Educational ePublishing Services & Technologies

An estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disability. This represents 16% of the world’s population, or 1 in 6 of us.

Learnetic SA - Educational ePublishing Services & Technologies

The percentage of home pages that had detectable WCAG 2 failures (96.8%) was a small improvement from 97.4% in 2021 and 98.1% in 2020.

Learnetic SA - Educational ePublishing Services & Technologies

The percentage of missing alternative text for images on home pages has improved every year since 2019. In 2019 it was was 68.0%, in 2020 it was 66.0%, in 2021 it was 60.6%, and in 2022 – 55.4%.

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