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What's the difference between WCAG Levels A and AA?

The WCAG guidelines have three levels of conformance that you can meet: A, AA and AAA and each is progressively harder.

Level A is a subset of Level AA. There are 25 criteria that you have to meet to reach Level A.

To reach Level AA you have to meet 13 more criteria in addition to the 25 for Level A.

Level AAA is the icing on the cake with 23 more criteria.

Hang on, that's 61 criteria for Level AAA!

Your average website doesn’t target Level AAA conformance, that level tends to be for pretty specialist sites as the criteria are really strict. That's not to say that they aren't helpful and it's a good idea to at least understand them as there might be examples that are easy for your site to meet.

So, can I partially meet a level?

No. To state that your website is Level AA compliant, that means it has to meet every one of the Level A and the Level AA guidelines.

Don't use this as a reason not to try though. If for whatever reason meeting one of the criteria is really, really hard for your team, a website that meets 24/25 criteria for Level A will be so much more accessible than a website that meets none.

What level should I aim for?

Level AA is the level that most development teams are aiming to meet. This is the level that is legally required for certain sites and is the one that is typically referred to when you're tasked with "making a website accessible".

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