In this document, you'll find common terms and concepts related to accessibility.
A11y is numeronym for accessibility (a + 11 letters + y). Typically pronounced as "ally" as in "a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle," giving the term "a11y" multiple meanings.
Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) #
The ACR is the final report presented to a client once a full ACT has been performed. If you need a legally binding version of the ACR, you would utilize a version of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) #
ACT is commonly referred to as an accessibility audit. The ACT utilizes various testing methodology and tools: primarily automated, manual, and assistive technology (AT) devices.
ACT is first performed as a baseline metric to gauge general accessibility compliance of a digital product. It's often run multiple times throughout the software product lifecycle to check for changes in the level of conformance against a set of pre-determined accessibility checkpoints or guidelines.
ARIA is an acronym for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (formally known as WAI-ARIA—Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications). ARIA is a specification written by the W3C, defining a set of attributes that you can add to HTML elements to support accessibility. These attributes communicate role, state, and property to assistive technologies via accessibility APIs implemented in the accessibility tree in modern browsers.
Assitive technology (AT) #
AT is hardware and software that can be no-tech (such as a mouthstick), low-tech (such as a keyboard), or high-tech (such as a screen reader). AT is used to help increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of performing a task for a person with disabilities. AT includes braille keyboards, audio browsers, screen magnifiers, and alternative pointing devices.
Digital accessibility #
Digital accessibility is the practice of building digital products in a way that all users, regardless of their disability, will have equal access to the content or functionality of the product.
POUR is shorthand for Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust, which are the foundational human-focused principles of WCAG.
Screen reader #
A screen reader is a high-tech assistive technology that uses synthetic language to read and navigate digital documents for people with low or no vision, cognitive issues, and other disabilities.
- Screen Reader Keyboard Shortcuts and Gestures
VPAT is shorthand for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. A VPAT is a template to draft an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR). An ACR clearly states which accessibility standards a product or service meets and warns users about any "accessibility blockers" they may encounter. A VPAT does not mean that a digital product is 100% accessible: it is just a report of the state of a product from an accessibility conformance perspective.
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) #
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a sub-group of the W3C focuses only on digital accessibility.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) #
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (commonly referred to as ]= WCAG) is an international set of accessibility standards developed through the W3C in cooperation with individuals and organizations. The goal of WCAG is to provide a single shared standard for digital accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide.