About WCAG


The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is an international standard (ISO/IEC 40500) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

According to Rice Policy 851, the WCAG version 2.1, levels A and AA is Rice University's standard for creating, sharing, and procuring accessible information and communication technologies (ICT).


Expanding Access


The WCAG is not a law, but a set of guidelines for ensuring that digital information is accessible and complies with nondiscrimination laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) and the 508 ICT Refresh (2018).

The WCAG gives guidance for avoiding and removing accessibility barriers so that everyone, including people with disabilities, can independently access and use the digital information we create and share.


WCAG Layers


The WCAG 2.1 standard consists of multiple layers of guidance.

  • 4 Principles
  • 13 Guidelines
  • 50 A and AA Success Criteria (SC)
  • Techniques for meeting SC

Rice Content authors are not required to be experts in all WCAG 2.1 A and AA success criteria.


Designing with WCAG


If we start with a few basic techniques, then we can design a wide variety of digital information that meet many success criteria of the WCAG.

Basic Techniques of Accessible Design


We distilled the WCAG 2.1 criteria with the highest impact for content authors into eight basic guides.

Sometimes we refer to these techniques as “digital curb cuts” because they expand access for everyone and can be applied in many different contexts. Other times we refer to them as "low-hanging fruit" because the are easy to implement and have a big impact.

Guide on Forms coming soon.


Accessibility Guides


There are various technologies for creating and sharing public and academic digital information at Rice. See the following for additional guides about specific technologies.

Guides coming soon: Video Conferencing, Website Reviews, Purchasing.