WCAG 2.2 Changes – Dawn of the semantic web?

Accessible sign on brick wall covered in graffiti.

WCAG 2.2 Changes – Dawn of the semantic web?

So the new standard was published on the 5th October 2023 by W3.org. The clauses are pretty much the same as 2.1 but with some additions and just one removal.

“Parsing” was a clause under section 4.1 which required web page content to be parsable by software such as screen readers and other assistive tools. I remember when websites were hand-crafted in text editors with no auto-closures, highlighting or autocomplete functionality. Back then a website could often be cut off halfway down the page due to an erroneous tag or forward-slash. We used tools like htmltidy to sort them out, to some extent. But nowadays the HTML has finally become ubiquitous and browsers do a much better job at parsing and tidying HTML than ever before. Most assistive tools now use the browser output in place of, or alongside, their own proprietary code. And with so many publishers using markdown, website pages are now more reliably structured than ever.

So has our drive for accessibility inadvertently pinpointed the tipping point for structured content and the dawn of the semantic web? Some would say that’s a stretch, and btw it happened years ago. However with AI token sizes increasing exponentially and the semantic content on which AI needs to feed, this is just one of many signals that could herald the singularity… (OK, that’s enough sci-fi, Ed.).

If you’re interesting in Accessibility testing and compliance, we can provide in depth analysis and focused UX research services to ensure your product meets the required A, AA or AAA levels. Simply get in touch.


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