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Australian Digital Transformation Agency commits to WCAG 2.1 AA update

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), a Federal government department that oversees the national Digital Service Standard (DSS), issued a tweet recently confirming it will be moving to WCAG 2.1.

In its tweet, the DTA stated that:

“’There will be 17 new criteria in #WCAG 2.1 to cover new digital tools and understanding mobile, low vision and cognitive. @DTA will update our guides to meet WCAG 2.1 criteria.’ #contentstrategy #accessibility #dtachats

While the tweet is good news, indicating that the Australian Federal government will be moving to WCAG 2.1, there was initially some confusion with the announcement. Given there are only 12 Success Criteria in WCAG 2.1 Level AA, the tweet inferred that the Federal government would be moving to Level AAA to implement all 17 Success Criteria. If true, this would have been a major departure from existing government policy.

To clarify this issue, I sent a reply to the DTA’s tweet, checking if they were indeed planning to implement all 17 Success Criteria. In response, the DTA stated:

“Hi @scotthollier, we apologise for the delay in responding. There
are no plans to move to AAA, but as we explore the updates to WCAG 2.1 we’re
issuing new best practice advice to help agencies understand the changes.”

This suggests that the new Federal government requirement described by the Digital Service Standard is likely to be based on a WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformance, incorporating the 12 largely mobile-focused new Success Criteria.

If you wish to upskill your staff in preparation for the new DTA requirement, you can find additional information in the Consultancy and Training section of this webiste. There is also a free WCAG 2.1 resource at the Centre For Accessibility website.

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