What’s New in WCAG 2.2

The latest (and probably last) WCAG version 2 point release is in draft and the W3C is asking for comments and feedback by 18 September 2020 either via GitHub or via email.

The new success criteria address cognitive and learning disabilities, mobile devices, and ebooks. Read more details in the release Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 Draft for Review.

Everything below is pulled from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 Working Draft, dated 11 August 2020, but if you are reading this well after that date and don’t care so much, just visit the latest release instead.

One success criterion has been promoted from Level AA to Level A. While this would not affect the average site targeting Level AA compliance, it does reflect the relative importance of the SC.

Success Criterion 2.4.7 Focus Visible (Level A) [Changed]
Any keyboard operable user interface has a mode of operation where the keyboard focus indicator is visible.

New Success Criteria

Each success criterion below has more information in the (11 August) draft spec, including links to related GitHub issues, outstanding questions and concerns, and links to the understanding notes for each item. What you see below is just the text for the criterion as it stands on 11 August 2020.

I have further broken them down by level (A, AA, and AAA).

Level A

4 new Level A Success Criteria.

2.4.13 Fixed Reference Points (Level A)
When a web page or set of web pages is an electronic publication with pagebreak locators, a mechanism is available to navigate to each locator and each locator maintains its place in the flow of content, even when the formatting or platform change.
3.2.6 Findable Help (Level A)
For single page Web applications or any set of Web pages, if one of the following is available, then access to at least one option is included in the same relative order on each page:
  • Human contact details;
  • Human contact mechanism;
  • Self-help option;
  • A fully automated contact mechanism.
3.3.7 Accessible Authentication (Level A)
If an authentication process relies on a cognitive function test, at least one other method must also be available that does not rely on a cognitive function test.
3.3.8 Redundant Entry (Level A)
For steps in a process, information previously entered by or provided to the user that is required on subsequent steps is either:
  • auto-populated, or
  • available for the user to select.

Level AA

4 new Level AA Success Criteria. If you are validating a site to the most common WCAG level seen in settlement agreements, international laws, and general reference, these 4 plus the 4 new Level A SCs mean a total of eight (8) you will need to target.

2.4.11 Focus Appearance (Minimum) (Level AA)
For the keyboard focus indicator of each User Interface Component, all of the following are true:
  • Minimum area: The focus indication area is greater than or equal to a 1 CSS pixel border of the focused control, or has a thickness of at least 8 CSS pixels along the shortest side of the element.
  • Change of contrast: The color change for the focus indication area has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 with the colors of the unfocused state.
  • Adjacent contrast: The focus indication area has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against all adjacent colors for the minimum area or greater, or has a thickness of at least 2 CSS pixels.
  • Unobscured: The item with focus is not entirely hidden by author-created content.
2.5.7 Dragging (Level AA)
All functionality that uses a dragging movement for operation can be operated by a single pointer without dragging, unless dragging is essential.
2.5.8 Pointer Target Spacing (Level AA)
For each target, there is an area with a width and height of at least 44 CSS pixels that includes it, and no other targets, except when:
  • Enlarge: A mechanism is available to change the CSS pixel size of each target, or its spacing, so there is an area with a width and height of at least 44 CSS pixels that includes it, and no other targets;
  • Inline: The target is in a sentence or block of text;
  • User agent: The size of the target is controlled by the user agent and is not modified by the author;
  • Essential: A particular presentation of the target is essential to the information being conveyed.
3.2.7 Hidden Controls (Level AA)
Controls needed to progress or complete a process are visible at the time they are needed without requiring pointer hover or keyboard focus, or a mechanism is available to make them persistently visible.

Level AAA

Only 1 Success Criteria at Level AAA.

2.4.12 Focus Appearance (Enhanced) (Level AAA)
For the keyboard focus indicator of each User Interface Component, all of the following are true:
  • Minimum area: The focus indication area is greater than or equal to a 2 CSS pixel solid border around the control.
  • Change of contrast: Color changes used to indicate focus have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 with the colors changed from the unfocused control.
  • Unobscured: No part of the focus indicator is hidden by author-created content.

New Glossary Entries

In addition to new guidelines and success criteria, the glossary has been updated to reflect some of the terminology used throughout the changes. Below are the new entries.

Cognitive function test
Task that requires the user to remember, manipulate, or transcribe information. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • memorization, such as remembering a username, password, set of characters, images, or patterns;
  • transcription, such as typing in characters;
  • use of correct spelling;
  • performance of calculations;
  • solving of puzzles.
Dragging movement
An operation where the pointer engages with an element on the down event and the element (or a representation of its position) follows the pointer.
Electronic publication
Content presented as a collection of related articles, document in the form of a book, textbook, magazine article, journal, a single journal article that is presented as having different pages, scholarly journal, or newspaper article in digital format.
Point where the user’s input interacts with the web page. For example, tabbing through a page with a keyboard moves the focus. Clicking or tapping on the page would move the focus for mouse and touchscreen usage. Different inputs can be used by a user, but at any one time there would be one point of focus for the user with the last input used.
Focus indication area
The pixels that change between the focused and unfocused states of a User Interface Component.
Pagebreak locators
Visual and/or programmatic markers that are arranged in a meaningful sequence to determine the location of a page in relation to others in the set. Examples would be:
  • Corresponding pages between a print book and a digital version of the same publication. (A digital pixel precise manifestation of the published print version)
  • Page numbering in the print version of an ebook
  • Page numbering in an electronic version of the ebook
  • A digital book is published is with no print equivalent and page break locators are inserted which supports direct navigation across platforms and form factors.
  • Virtual page
  • Synchronizing reading people with different form factors and platforms, screen sizes, can be on the same page.
Single page web application
Pages obtained from a single URI that provides navigation which changes the meaning of the Web page.


Comments and feedback are requested by 18 September 2020 either via GitHub or via email. If you have something to add or suggest, this is your nearly last chance.

Update: 31 August 2020

Jared Smith at WebAIM has put together WCAG 2.2 Overview and Feedback with notes and explanations on what they support, would like to see changed, and is confusing.

A few of these seem to be common, so I expect these will be echoed in feedback from others (some is already on GitHub).

Update: 5 May 2021

WCAG 2.2 Working Draft is ready for wide review. Submit your comments by 11 June 2021. Read the latest from the W3C: What’s New in WCAG 2.2 Working Draft

Update: 8 October 2023

WCAG 2.2 is live. Read the W3C’s What’s New in WCAG 2.2 to know what from this post made it into the final spec.

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