8 ways WCAG 3.0 will improve digital inclusion

How will the new version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 3.0) further improve digital inclusion?

To help you improve digital inclusion, we asked tech experts and business leaders this question for their best advice. From creating guidance for all digital assets to providing a blueprint for future design, there are several ways the new version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 3.0) can further improve digital inclusion.

Headshots of 8 business professionals with the Terkel microphone logo

Here eight ways the new version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines will further improve digital inclusion:

1. Structure Your Content

WCAG 3.0 includes guidelines for “structured content.” As an SEO agency, we’ve always recommended the use of sections, headings, and subheadings to organize content for both readers and search engines to better understand articles and web pages. Structuring content can help satisfy some of the sensory and cognitive categories that exist within WCAG 3.0, with “vision & visual” (sensory) and “attention” (cognitive) as a few items that stand out. 

To satisfy this guideline, publishers of content should seek to have every heading accurately describe the content in the section and make sure that no headings are necessary to locate the content being requested. Following these guidelines and structure can help create an optimal user experience for readers and search engines alike. 

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

2. Opening Up the Internet 

As someone who is legally blind but has some usable vision, I am looking forward to the targeted proposals aimed at opening up more of the internet for audiences like me. When I’m online, I don’t use a screen reader full time; this is in part due to the fact that websites are not always compatible with the software. I end up missing details from websites that aren’t designed for inclusion in this way, such as those that do not include alt text for their images. My husband, who recently suffered from a stroke, has also found subtitles extremely helpful as he navigates his new abilities. I hope that with this updated release, websites can incorporate more design that makes their content accessible.

Antonia Lliteras Espinosa, Disability Advocate

3. Integration of Transcriptions for Ease of Use   

The newest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines favors more digital inclusion in terms of accessibility, which includes transcription and subtitles for video and audio content. Software can play a part in making these transcriptions more accessible by lessening the physical aspects of typing information delivered via audio or video. Through AI-powered predictive text and features like automatic grammar-correction, the acts of typing and transcription can be easier for people with disabilities.

Guy Katabi, Lightkey

4. Creating Guidance for All Digital Assets 

The upgraded WCAG standards significantly drive digital inclusion as this updated version of WCAG 3.0 will continue to assist authors, designers, and developers. Its massive guiding technology allows them to work more profoundly to create accessible all types of digital assets. WCAG 3.0 will also include some top-notch materials from two other W3C recommendations. These are Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG 2.0) and User-Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG 2.0). 

Caroline Lee, CocoSign

5. Increased Offerings for Disability Needs

WCAG 3.0 will make the digital content accessible to a broader audience with various health problems that hinder their online experience. In essence, new guidelines will address a broader range of disability needs than the previous versions. They will focus on delivering content for users with various disabilities such as vision impairments, limited movement, sensory disorders, and cognitive and learning disabilities.

 A crucial element of the WCAG 3.0 is its measurability. The new goal is to structure new guidelines that focus on outcomes that can be measured and checked regularly. Such an approach will enable testing content accessibility more often and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer

6. Required Captioning and Transcription 

Amongst other points, the new guidelines consider captioning and transcripts to be a requirement for accessibility. Including captions on videos and transcripts of audio has historically been a nice-to-have addition, even when they provide basic access to a large portion of the population. 

These tools help people with hearing impairments. They also improve web experiences for neurodivergent users, those scanning because they’re unsure whether the content answers their question, or who don’t have headphones at hand. These tools open accessibility to all sorts of people in many situations. 

Tamara Scott, TechnologyAdvice

7. Providing Blueprint for Future Design 

The new version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provides principles for a broad range of devices, tools, and content. The new rules cover mobile and wearable devices, interactive content, virtual and augmented reality, and more. The document not only offers best practices for inclusion and accessibility on existing technology but also provides a blueprint for future content design. Because the guidelines cover the full spectrum of content possibilities, creators are likely to keep accessibility in mind when drafting experimental content, even before new regulations are released to govern emerging formats.

Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding

8. Adopt a Long-Term View

The new version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are geared towards opening up access and they are doing so through maintaining and improving upon web content’s longevity. The emphasis in the guidelines to work on continued maintenance of the rules illustrates that digital inclusion is only going to continue to expand. Being able to adjust and being prepared for those adjustments shows a dedication to sustaining web content over longer periods of time for a wider audience. Web accessibility supports digital inclusion and allows everybody to participate and interact in a digital environment. We should ensure that the digital world is accessible for everyone.  

Anastasia Avgerinou, Comidor 

Whilst we're still a while from WCAG 3.0 becoming the active guidelines, we hope we've given you some insight of what's to come. You can view the W3C's working draft of WCAG 3.0 on their website. If you'd like to delve a little more into the future of digital inclusion, check out this podcast with Texthelp's CTO, 'Digital inclusion: A journey through time'.

About Terkel

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.