Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Everyone who makes purchases online does it differently. Shoppers make decisions at their own pace, they can use different devices, in fact, they interact with webstores in the ways they find the most comfortable for them.

For some shoppers, the process of visiting a webstore or purchasing products is vastly different than webstore owners might expect. Some users with visual impairments can rely on a screen reader which is software that reads digital text aloud. Some users can navigate with a keyboard due to the inability to reliably use a mouse. People with hearing impairments use assistive devices. Some users can simply need help when they are placing an order, because they feel more comfortable providing their billing information over the phone.

Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. Apart from this, a user’s ability to access, visit or shop in an online webstore can be affected by external factors such as speed of the internet connection, or availability of computer hardware. Also, it can be affected by temporary factors, like a broken arm or aging.

When webstore owners design a webstore and fill it with content, they should think about how to make and maintain the webstore accessible to everyone, no matter users’ age, skill level, location, or presence of a disability.

In fact, accessibility is a crucial point to remember as it goes beyond the webstore pages – it encompasses the webstore administrator’s entire online presence.

WCAG 2.1

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a guideline (technical standard) developed to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility. WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web content generally refers to the information on a web page, for example, text, images, and how this information is structured and presented to the web users. WCAG 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. WCAG 2.1 was published on 5 June 2018.

WCAG 2.1 is a stable, referenceable technical standard. The guidelines are organized under 4 principles:

  1. Perceivable. It means that information and user interface components must be perceivable to users in ways they can perceive. Website content cannot be invisible to all users’ senses.

  2. Operable. It means that user interface components and navigation must be operable. The website interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform.

  3. Understandable. It means that information and the operation of a user interface must be understandable. Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface.

  4. Robust. It means that the website content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA. An A rating is the minimum requirement for having an accessible site and AAA is the gold standard of accessibility. Depending on the level, certain requirements can be higher, for instance for the desired contrast ratio.

Following WCAG 2.1 guidelines will make web content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations; but will not address every user need for people with these disabilities. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make web content more usable to users in general.

Currently, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working on the WCAG 2.2 version, which is still in the Working Draft state. WCAG 2.2 is scheduled to be completed and published by June 2022. Current drafts:

The process for completing WCAG 2.2 is introduced in How WAI Develops Accessibility Standards through the W3C Process.


At the moment we are working on improving our webstore to comply with WCAG, but not on Sana Admin. Sana Admin is designed with the WCAG rules for color contrast in mind. For more information about our progress, see Sana Commerce Cloud Roadmap.

Sana is committed to provide and maintain accessible web content to people with disabilities. Sana is currently working together with an external company to improve the Sana Commerce Cloud default webstore based on the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines. Sana intends to comply with the AA level, which is the most commonly used guideline level for webstores. We are intended to make our Sana Commerce Cloud product more suitable for keyboard and screen reader users.


Keeping accessibility in mind, Sana intends to comply with the regulations as much as possible to make it as easy as possible for users to view a Sana Commerce Cloud webstore and purchase products. Because of the freedom and flexibility in setting up a Sana webstore, no official certification is or will be given. Sana Commerce Cloud provides flexibility to the webstore owners in setting up the webstore, meaning that the webstore administrators can configure their webstores just the way they need. Webstore owners should take into consideration the WCAG regulations while configuring the webstore and make sure that it is accessible to everyone.

Sana Commerce Cloud offers the tools such as visual designer for content management and themes for design to help webstore owners to build an accessible webstore, but we cannot force them to implement a WCAG-compliant webstore.


Web accessibility regulations to which a webstore should comply differ per country. To check specific web accessibility rules per country, see Web Accessibility Laws & Policies.

Screen Readers

Since there are many different screen readers on the market, we cannot test a Sana webstore in every web browser with every screen reader. We decided to use Mozilla Firefox in combination with the NVDA screen reader to test the Sana webstore because this combination of a web browser and screen reader provides a wide range of accessibility features and is the most commonly used.

Content and Design

Aside from the users’ ability to easily navigate through the webstore, purchase a product and complete an order in the Sana webstore, WCAG covers a wide range of recommendations for making webstore content and design more accessible. For example, for people with color blindness, meeting the requirements for the color contrast ratio is highly important. In this sense, Sana cannot guarantee compliance with the WCAG rules because all webstore content and its design are manageable through Sana Admin. Sana’s content management system allows content managers to create and design content the way they like. Using themes, design managers can control all aspects of the webstore appearance, such as colors, fonts, sizes, backgrounds, etc. Therefore, it is significant for a webstore owner to keep the WCAG guidelines in mind when creating their webstore design and content to give all users the best experience possible regardless of limitations or disabilities.