What’s new in WCAG 2.1

Handouts Media

Presented at 8:00am in Westminster II on Thursday, November 15, 2018.



  • Jonathan Whiting, Director of Training & Evaluation, WebAIM

Session Details

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


Published in June 2018, WCAG 2.1 is the first update to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in almost a decade. Learn what's new in WCAG 2.1, if these changes have any impact on US law, and how to start implementing some of these principles today.


In June 2018, version 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was published, the first update in almost a decade. This new version does not undo anything published in WCAG 2.0 but adds to these guidelines with 17 additional "success criteria".

While all 17 of these success criteria can help improve accessibility, there are a few new requirements that stand out as offering the best potential benefit. These include contrast for icons and images, better accessibility for things that appear on mouse hover or keyboard focus, and the mobile devices improvements.

It is not currently clear if these updates will have any impact on US law. WCAG 2.1 will not be incorporated in to Section 508 without another refresh, but it is possible that the Department of Justice may start referencing these guidelines to help determine if a site meets the needs of people with disabilities, as outlined in the ADA. These possibilities will be discussed in this session.


  1. What is new in WCAG 2.1
  2. WCAG 2.1 and US law
  3. Techniques to implement the best new parts of WCAG 2.1

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Legal, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Jonathan Whiting

Jonathan Whiting is the Director of Training at WebAIM, based at Utah State University. His main passion is helping others learn to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. Jonathan is also currently involved in the GOALS Project, a program to assist institutions of Higher Education in improving their accessibility system-wide. With a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology and over 18 years of experience in the field of web accessibility, Jonathan has published dozens of articles, tutorials, and other instructional resources. He has traveled extensively to train thousands of web developers and other professionals who develop or maintain web content.