News from BIK
New WCAG-Test supports the accessibility of websites


The current BIK project ‘BIK für Alle’ (BIK for all) launched a new WCAG-based test procedure. This addition to the established BITV-Test procedure brings the test in line with the international standard for web accessibility, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The existing BITV-Test checkpoints have also been further developed to cover recent developments in web technologies. After an evaluation phase, the new test procedure is now available, both as a free self-assessment tool and as an expert test procedure.

New EU directives will not only oblige the public sector to provide accessible web services, but also extend to the private sector in the future. The common accessibility requirements are defined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). If websites meet the success criteria of WCAG, they are accessible to people with very different disabilities: for example, for blind and visually impaired people, people with motor impairments or those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The guidelines also cover some basic requirements for people with cognitive impairments.

How can conformance be checked?

The new WCAG-Test covers WCAG success criteria of the conformity level ‘AA’. It complements the established BITV-Test, which checks conformance with the German Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung (BITV) 2.0.

"Since the requirements of BITV 2.0 correspond in content to those of WCAG 2.0, it is possible to use a joint test procedure", says Sonja Weckenmann from the test development team. With the support of a group of experts, the existing BITV-Test was completely revised. Not only were the individual checkpoints overhauled to cover recent and often-used web technologies such as icon fonts – it is now possible to map the graded test results of the BITV-Test to the pass/fail success criteria of WCAG. Differences between the BITV- and WCAG-Tests occur only in the way the test results are expressed. While the BITV-Test is based on a graded evaluation scheme that uses a five point rating scale, WCAG is based on a pass/fail scheme. This means that on the chosen conformance level, all content on a page must pass all WCAG success criteria in order to conform to WCAG. Results from the BITV-Test are therefore mapped onto the binary WCAG pass/fail criteria. BITV ‘pass’ and ‘near pass’ results are mapped on to WCAG ‘pass’, the rest (‘partial pass’ or worse) is mapped onto WCAG ‘fail’.

The WCAG-Test is offered by experts in a network of German organisations offering the BITV-Test, the “BITV-Test-Prüfverbund”. Based on the generated test report, website owners can produe a WCAG-based declaration of conformance. The WCAG test report can be used as the underpinning of the accessibility statement that all Public Sector Bodies are required to publish in order to meet the new EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and apps. In addition, the test can also be carried out as a design support test or as a self-assessment.

Further information on the BITV- and the WCAG-Test can be found on this website.