As I mentioned in my previous article, the WCAG 3 content is still exploratory. That means that the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AGWG) is iterating, changing, and even removing content. Drafts provide a way for the public to see what AGWG is doing and provide feedback. The accessibility guidelines serve a world-wide community. Crafting them takes time, careful consideration, and as many eyes and minds as possible. Sometimes, we may post alternative approaches and request feedback. As WCAG 2.2 wraps up, these changes and requests for feedback will be much more frequent.
Because WCAG 3 is still a draft, it should not be cited or treated as guidance. We welcome early adopters who are willing to try out WCAG 3 and provide feedback. In fact, we really need this type of experimentation and participation from the accessibility community and we will reach out to experts in various areas to help us. If you choose to experiment, please do not be surprised when WCAG 3 changes.
Within the AGWG, we typically differentiate between conformance and compliance. From our perspective, web content can conform to WCAG but would comply with a law that references WCAG.
1. WCAG 3 is still in draft. Nothing can conform or comply with WCAG 3 at this time while it is in draft. It should not even be cited as guidance at this time.
2. After W3C publishes WCAG 3 as W3C guidance, web content creators will be able to declare conformance to it.
3. After WCAG 3 is a W3C recommendation, organizations responsible for writing law, policy, or regulation may reference or adopt it. Then compliance comes into play. The W3C does not write laws, policies, or regulations. Because those organizations responsible for this step need time to evaluate the impact of a new standard and integrate it into their existing regulatory content, this step takes time.
In short, if someone is currently claiming WCAG 3 compliance or even conformance, check again. The most reputable source for the current status of WCAG 3 is the W3C’s WCAG 3 Introduction.