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 is now a subset of 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. WCAG has also been adopted as ISO standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).

In Germany, the Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung (BITV) 2.0 now points to the EN 301 549 which includes WCAG recommendations in its section 9 for web content.

Relation 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 had been removed, both tests were then covering the same requirements. In March 2021, the additional requirements for web content of the EN 301 549, which are referenced in Annex A, table A1, were included in the list of checkpoints of BITV-Test. Since these are not part of WCAG, they are not contained in the WCAG 2.1 test. The WCAG test with its 60 checkpoints has now effectively become a subset of the BITV-Test (92 checkpoints ).

WCAG Compliance

Both BITV-Test and WCAG-Test show for each page tested which success criteria are met and which are not met. 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 WCAG-Test can be used for a declaration of WCAG 2.1 conformity of individual pages. However, if the aim of an evaluation is to back 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 it is advisable to use the BITV-Test since it includes the full set of (web-related) requirements of the EN 301 549.