The CSUN Conference is just around the corner and 2018 is set to be another big year for the accessibility industry. With major changes in assistive technology and the move to WCAG 2.1, we’re here to help you stay on top of it all.

Learn about 5 hot topics that you should have on your radar in the coming year.

1. Comprehensive Testing: Manual and Automated

With 62 different WCAG 2.0 success criteria, your team is tasked with a lot of code to check—especially when your website can span hundreds to tens of thousands of pages. Automated tools help streamline checks that can be easily identified in your code, but be careful not to neglect manual testing. There are many accessibility success criteria checks that simply require a human touch. A good balance of manual and automated testing is a must-have for a compliant website.

2. Section 508 Refresh 

How has the recent Section 508 update affected you and your team? There is now a new level of consistency in accessibility across information and communications technologies (ICT), as well as a strong move to harmonize US standards and global standards. The revised Section 508 standards affect not only web-based content, but all electronic content, both public-facing and internal.

3. WCAG 2.1

The move to WCAG 2.1 has already begun and is estimated to be officially recommended by the W3C in June of 2018. As of January 30, 2018, WCAG 2.1 is in Candidate Recommendation, meaning that it’s still in development. This updated set of standards is open for feedback from the community until March 30, 2018. It will then become a Proposed Recommendation,” before finally becoming a W3C Recommendation. Read more in our recent blog post on what you need to know about WCAG 2.1.

4. Web Accessibility Conformance Testing

Although WCAG is the most widely adopted, internationally recognized standard for evaluating web accessibility, there is not yet a consensus on how conformance to accessibility standards should be interpreted and tested. Expert reviews and accessibility testing tools may even give contradictory results on what is or what is not an accessibility error. This can create mistrust in the accessibility field, ultimately hindering efforts to improve web accessibility overall . Conformance testing should be at the forefront of your mind this year as groups like the W3C ACT Task Force and the EU funded WAI-Tools Project push the conversation further.

5. Assistive Technology & Artificial Intelligence

Great advances are being made in the areas of assistive technology and artificial intelligence. Some advances affect all users of technology, like voice search on computers and mobile devices. Others are revolutionizing life for people with disabilities. For example, programs like Be My Eyes, Seeing AI, and Aira help people who are blind to better understand their environment and perform day-to-day tasks, which might otherwise require a sighted assistant.

As 2018 continues, we expect these topics to move into the forefront of accessibility conversations worldwide.

Looking to learn more about how to improve accessibility on your website? The 33rd annual CSUN Assistive Technologies conference is just around the corner and Siteimprove is bringing together thought leaders to discuss the accessibility landscape with some engaging topics. We hope that you can join us throughout the conference at one of our sessions or at booth #618!

View CSUN Agenda

Not attending the conference? Register to receive the presentation decks of all eight Siteimprove-hosted talks. Questions about web accessibility on your site? Contact our team today!