Web Accessibility Standards

New web accessibility regulations 

On 23rd September 2018, a new law, “The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018” (Gov UK) came into force in the UK.

The new regulations require us to meet the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 AA Standards. WCAG was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (W3C website). We are also required to provide an accessibility statement.

WCAG 2.1 AA Standards

POUR Principles

The WCAG 2.1 AA Standards are based upon 4 principles. POUR is an acronym for these principles:

  1. Perceivable
  2. Operable
  3. Understandable
  4. Robust


Each principle is supported by 13 guidelines:

  1. Text alternatives
  2. Time-based media
  3. Adaptable
  4. Distinguishable
  5. Keyboard accessible
  6. Enough time
  7. Seizures and physical reactions
  8. Navigable
  9. Input modalities
  10. Readable
  11. Predictable
  12. Input assistance
  13. Compatible

Success Criteria

Each of the above principles and guidelines are broken down into “success criteria” we have to meet.

Guidance from the Government Digital Service (GDS)

The GDS has produced a website that guides you through 4 steps we need to take:

  1. Understand how the regulations will impact your organisation
  2. Decide how to check your website or app for accessibility problems
  3. Make a plan to fix any accessibility problems you find
  4. Publish an accessibility statement

To learn more, visit Making Online Public Services Accessible (Accessibility, Gov UK)


Written by Kirsten Thompson | Last updated 08/02/21

Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)