On June 5th, the World Wide Web Consortium, who issued the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.0, published an expanded version of the WCAG to add 17 new success criteria. The new criteria, called the WCAG 2.1, is an extension of the WCAG 2.0 standards. Currently, the standards demanded by plaintiffs and adopted by the Courts in ADA website accessibility cases is the WCAG 2.0 AA standards. While we anticipate that WCAG 2.0 AA will continue to be the de facto standard for compliance in the short term, it is likely that plaintiffs may start demanding and the Courts enforcing WCAG 2.1 standards for making websites, mobile apps and other digital content accessible to people with disabilities.
Essentially, WCAG 2.1 adds 17 additional success criteria which can be found here. The updates are mainly related to mobile devices, disabilities that affect vision (such as colorblindness, low vision and criteria addressing text spacing and non-text color contrast) and disabilities that affect cognitive function (such as attention deficit disorder and age-related cognitive decline and criteria addressing timeouts and animations from interactions for seizures and physical reactions). WCAG 2.1 builds on WCAG 2.0, and still follows the A, AA, and AAA conformance levels. As a result, while there is no immediate need to comply with WCAG 2.1 AA standards, it would be wise to begin implementation of these standards when it is feasible for your organization to do so.