Requirements for Silver

W3C Editor's Draft

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(The Paciello Group, LLC)
(Google, Inc.)

Copyright © 2018 the Contributors to the Silver Requirements, published by the Silver under the W3C Community Contributor License Agreement (CLA). A human-readable summary is available.


Requirements for Silver document is the next phase in the development of the next major upgrade to accessibility guidelines that will be the successor to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 series. The Silver Task Force of the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and the W3C Silver Community group have partnered to do incubate the needs, requirements, and structure for the new accessibility guidance. The group initially planned research to study the needs, developed problem statements, received input from industry leaders for directions to procede, and have drafted these high-level requirements for the next phase of the project, prototyping and public input.

Status of This Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

Requirements for Silver are a work in progress, and comments are welcome as Github Issues or by email. This version of the Requirements is the first of 3 planned stages of the Silver Requirements. This initional, high-level version forms the basis of the prototyping work which is scheduled for 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2018. The Requirements will be updated in more detail after the public feedback of the prototyping process. This version includes comments received by 29 May 2018 and discussion from the Silver Task Force and Commuity Group as of 29 May 2018. See the changelog for specific changes.

This report was published by the Silver Community Group. It is not a W3C Standard nor is it on the W3C Standards Track. Please note that under the W3C Community Contributor License Agreement (CLA) there is a limited opt-out and other conditions apply. Learn more about W3C Community and Business Groups.

1. Introduction§

People with disabilities can face problems using online content and applications. Disabilities can be permanent, temporary, or situational limitations.

We need guidelines to:

2. Problem Statements Around Current Guidelines§

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 were designed to be technology neutral, and have stayed relevant for over 10 years. During the year of Silver research, a recurring theme was the quality of the guidance in WCAG 2.0. Most of the issues identified in the research were needs for improvement in the structure and presentation of WCAG 2. The Problem Statements describe areas that came up in research for Silver in 2017-2018 that we need to focus on and address in the new guidelines, to provide some background for how we developed these requirements.

Usability Problems

Conformance Model


3. Design Principles§

Accessibility guidelines should:

  1. Support the needs of the widest possible range of people with disabilities.
  2. Support measuring changes in the level of conformance.
  3. Be flexible enough to support the needs of people with disabilities using emerging technologies.
  4. Be usable and accessible.
  5. Be written in plain language, as easy as possible to understand.

The development process for the guidelines should

  1. include people with disabilities,
  2. have global participation and feedback.
  3. Be about and for people – technology is important but secondary.
  4. Strive to be data informed and evidence based.
  5. Include the principles and intent of previous guidelines

4. Requirements§

Previous W3C Accessibility Guidelines described how to make web pages accessible to people with disabilities. Those guidelines provided a flexible framework that has kept the guidelines relevant for as many as 10 years, but changing technology and needs of people with disabilities has shown areas where they could be improved. The requirements are drawn from the research performed by Silver to improve the guidelines, and the suggestions from the Silver Design Sprint. These requirements are high level, and will be expanded and refined as Silver members move through the prototyping process.

These requirements will be refined in Q3 of 2018 at the end of the prototyping process and in 2019 after public input from the First Public Working Draft.

  1. Provide more information than a simple pass/fail statement. For example, it may describe "minimal" and "better" methods of conforming to a requirement.
  2. Create a structure for guidelines that can better meet the needs of people with disabilities in unanticipated technologies and interactions. The structure is flexible and forgiving of unanticipated needs.
  3. Make the guidelines available in different accessible and usable ways.

A. Change Log§

A.1 Substantive changes since the last public working draft§

A.2 Other substantive changes since the First Public Working Draft§

A.3 Changes Prior to First Public Working Draft§

B. Acknowledgements§

B.1 Participants in the Silver Task Force Active in the Development of This Document§

B.2 Participants in the Silver Community Group Active in the Development of This Document§

B.3 Participants in the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group Active in the Development of This Document§