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The WCAG-Test

The WCAG-Test is a method for checking the accessibility of web pages based on the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. The WCAG-Test complements the BITV-Test. It was developed during the project 'BIK für Alle' and released in December 2017.

The WCAG are issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They are the internationally recognised standard for accessible web design. WCAG recommendations have been legally enshrined in many countries. In Germany, the Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung (BITV) 2.0 implements these recommendations. In addition, WCAG has been adopted as ISO standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012) and has been transposed to become part of the European standard EN 301 549 (Section 9 Web).

Harmonization of BITV-Test and WCAG-Test

With the updating of BITV-Test on 15.03.2019 former differences between BITV-Test and the WCAG-Test version of BITV-Tests no longer exist. Before this date the point-based graded BITV-Test offered a test procedure that calculated an overall score across pages tested and assumed that a site reaching 90 points (out of 100 achievable points) could be considered accessible. Following the direct reference of the expected new version of the German BITV regulation to the EN 301549 which in clause 9 reproduces WCAG 2.1 including the conformance requirements. This approach was abandoned.

WCAG Compliance

Both BITV-Test and WCAG-Test show for each page tested which success criteria are met and which aren’t. A page conforms to WCAG only if all success criteria are met. According to WCAG, conformity can only be claimed for individual pages.

Nevertheless, the BIK WCAG-Test provides information about the accessibility of the entire website. The approach is based on the Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) 1.0 which has developed a test procedure for websites. A representative sample of pages is tested with the aim to cover the various barriers that might be found on the website. In order to conform to WCAG, the WCAG conformance requirements must also be met. The test procedure ensures this by including some requirements (such as requirement 2 ‘Full pages’ and 3 ‘Complete Processes’) in its process, and, following an initial check of the site to be tested, by not admitting to the test sites that fail to meet conformance requirements 4 (‘Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies’) or 5 (‘Non-Interference’).

The results of the BIK WCAG-Test can be used for a declaration of conformity of individual pages or for the production of an accessibility statement according to the Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies.