Understanding How to Use WCAG for the University of Maine System Website

What is WCAG?

WCAG is an acronym for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. There are multiple versions of WCAG, including 2.0 and 2.1. The University of Maine System currently follows WCAG 2.1 guidelines. WCAG 3.0 will soon be the new standard, likely starting in 2023.

WCAG guidelines are a set of internationally-agreed recommendations and success criteria developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (External Site) to make web content more accessible for users with disabilities. The University of Maine System website is required to follow WCAG 2.1 AA Conformance Level guidelines per the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Resolution.

What are Conformance Levels, also known as Success Criteria?

Criteria by which all WCAG 2.1 and 2.0 requirements are held. Sometimes referred to as “success criteria”.

All WCAG Success Criteria are important. These are not considered “nice-to-haves” when it comes to meeting conformance. Each success criteria within the conformance levels are all accessibility requirements that should be considered mandatory for meeting in your website content.

The University of Maine System website must meet Conformance Level AA requirements, per the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Resolution. A list of success criteria are available on the W3C website (External Site).

Success criteria basics – What are the three levels?
  • Level A Success Criteria: Those which will have a high impact on a broad set of user types. This criteria usually do not focus on one type of disability only. Implementation of these requirements will typically be the easiest to achieve.
  • Level AA Success Criteria: This criteria will have a high impact for most users. Adherence to these Success Criteria have imposed logic and style requirements for the University of Maine System website. All content that lives on the System website must meet this criteria.
  • Level AAA Success Criteria: These criteria are often focused on improvements for specific user populations. These criteria can be difficult or expensive to adhere to, depending on platform limitations.

How to achieve WCAG 2.1 AA Conformance

The University of Maine System website has been designed to manage much of the conformance requirements for you, for example font size and font type on this website meet AA conformance criteria. The reason you cannot change the font type or font size on this website is to ensure that all content meets AA standards.

The Content Management website you are currently using has also been designed to instruct you on the tenets of content management that will inherently meet AA conformance success criteria. By following these guidelines put forth on the Content Management website you will be able to meet most if not all of the criteria. A list of success criteria are available on the W3C website (External Site).

If you still have any questions or would like your pages reviewed for conformance before publishing, reach out to the content management team using this web form.


Style Guide Note

The University of Maine System website follows the Associated Press Online Stylebook (External Site) and WCAG 2.1 AA web accessibility standards (External Site). Because the University of Maine System is an institution of higher learning and an institution that prioritizes accessible web content, consistency and accuracy are important.

Please review your web content for errors in accessibility using the accessibility and style guide guidance found on the Content Management knowledge base.