Understanding WCAG 2.1

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Cotton Creek I on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.



  • Becky Gibson, Sr. Accessibility Strategist, Knowbility

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


The recently updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) improve web accessibility for a wider range of users. Learn how the 17 new success criteria in WCAG 2.1 address mobile accessibility and increase access for people with low vision and cognitive impairments.


The technology landscape has changed dramatically since the W3C approved the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 in 2008. While the guidelines aim to be technology agnostic, the explosion of mobile devices presents new accessibility challenges. The recently released WCAG 2.1 update addresses the needs of mobile users as well as improving access for people with low vision and cognitive impairments.

The W3C Accessibility Guidelines working group polled various disability groups to determine the most pressing issues to address in the update. They researched and prioritized the items to come up with the new requirements. WCAG 2.1 adds 2 guidelines and 17 success criteria targeted mainly at mobile, low vision and cognitive issues. Note that while the new success criteria target three main topics, there is certainly overlap with other areas of disability. This session will use examples to explore and explain each new success criteria.


  1. WCAG 2.1 addresses mobile accessibility as well as low vision and cognitive issues.
  2. Understand the reason for and requirements of each of the 17 new success criteria.
  3. WCAG 2.1 does not replace WCAG 2.0. It is fully backward compatible

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Becky Gibson

Becky Gibson is a recognized expert in the field of digital inclusion and enabling accessible solutions. Her extensive career as a Software Engineer and Accessibility Architect at IBM impacted products, customer strategy, and industry standards. She is passionate about making Web and mobile applications usable for people of all abilities.

She participated in the creation of W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) and helped to develop and demonstrate the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) specification. Becky shares her accessibility experience training and working with clients and as an invited speaker at conferences. She is thrilled to be working at Knowbility as a Sr. Accessibility Strategist evangelizing accessibility.