Which WCAG Testing Standards Are Essential for Compliance

WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is the most sought-after framework to ensure digital accessibility.  WCAG compliance can be assessed in three different levels, i.e. A, AA, and AAA. 

When a business fills out a VPAT with WCAG testing, they aim for one of the three distinctive levels of compliance. Level A is the least product and AAA is the highest compliance level. Although, the acceptable accessibility level is AA and mostly aimed at business organizations. 

Ensuring compliance with WCAG is essential because it is a framework used to abide by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). ADA is a civil rights law and Title III of ADA considers websites aspublic accommodation. To put it simply, a business website must be accessible to everyone despite their disability. To ensure compliance with ADA, you must understandWCAG standards. 

What Is WCAG Testing And How Is It Done?

WCAG testing is crucial to obtain a VPAT statement. VPAT stands for voluntary product accessibility template, it is an evaluation measure used by organizations to demonstrate their compliance with WCAG. 


You cannot publish a VPAT report without conducting WCAG testing. While generating a VPAT report, the information page requires the version of VPAT you are using, the determined compliance levels and testing methods. Therefore, one needs a thorough knowledge of WCAG standards to correctly fill out the report.

In order to attain ADA compliance, VPAT reports can be a proactive measure. It is suggested that businesses invest in WCAG testing and update their VPAT once a year. This ensures that all their technology products and electronic documents are accessible to disabled users and there is no risk of ADA violation. 

WCAG Testing Standards

WCAG testing is conducted to establish conformance to the digital accessibility laws. The testing can be done in three different ways:

  • Automated 
  • Semi-automated
  • Manual testing

Keep in mind that VPAT reports require transparent accessibility testing standards. You have to provide detailed explanations and remarks on the evaluation measures and the compliance standards. Hence, automated testing is not sufficient and to maintain the desired level of transparency in WCAG testing you must invest in manual audits.

How Is Manual WCAG Testing Performed?

You can only find out 1 out of 4 accessibility issues with the help of automated scans. To ensure total compliance with WCAG Level AA or AAA, human intervention is needed.

Here is a brief snippet of the audit process that can help you understand the testing standards maintained by an accessibility specialist:

  1. URLs: Auditors will ask you for the desired URLs or screens of your websites that you want to test. There can be hundreds of webpages on a website, and checking each one of them might not be a financially viable solution. So the audit experts also help you to find identical pages/screens and pick only the required URLs.
  1. Site structure: It is the most time consuming part, where the auditors go through the site structure and diligently check each page against the desired success criteria of WCAG.
  1. Issues: Next is the listing of issues from a particular page to make them easy to spot when remediation is done.
  2. Remediation: Auditors will provide an exact code or solutions to overcome the accessibility barrier.
  1. Reporting: In the final phase, the audit experts provide a concise report to help the clients understand ADA compliance. Further, you can also ask for VPAT documentation at this phase.

VPAT report is also published by many businesses to exhibit their compliance with digital accessibility standards. You can schedule an appointment with the accessibility specialists at ADA Compliance Pros to further understand what is VPAT compliance and what is the cost of WCAG testing.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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