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The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, otherwise known as WCAG  

Posted on 31 August 2023 A lit lightbulb, floating in the air. 4 unlit lightbulbs lie on the floor below it

What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?

This is perhaps the most common starting point when you first come across this thing called Website Accessibility. These guidelines, when followed, will help ensure your website is more accessible for disabled people.

There seem to be two favoured ways of pronouncing WCAG.

 The acronym “w cag” where the sound of the w is used, rather than spelling the letter

The abbreviation “w c a g”, is where each letter is spelt out separately.

This phrase is, of course, used rather a lot when people are engaged in conversations about website accessibility. I always use the abbreviation but that is just my personal preference.

What about screen readers?

Anyway, it got me thinking about screen readers and how they might pronounce it. I then made a very short video using NVDA.

If you have watched or heard it, you will see or hear that the abbreviation is the one that is most difficult to hear. Putting a space between W and CAG ensures that it is spelt out correctly.

I realise that those who use screen readers would perhaps spell out each letter if they were unsure of what the word was and, after a while, get used to hearing it anyway but it is an interesting thought. Should language evolve to become more inclusive or should screen readers spell out abbreviations by default?

Would you like to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about website accessibility, please follow these links:

Watch my TED Talk
Find out more about website accessibility audits 
Discuss having an accessibility audit of your website
Have a 1-hour consultation on any aspect of website accessibility 

Clive Loseby
Access by Design

Beautiful, WCAG Compliant, Accessible Website Design
Delivering an Outstanding Website Accessibility Audit
Award-winning Web Design, Chichester

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