WCAG 2.1 international web accessibility guidelines now available in Ukrainian

Translation of global recommendations will make it easier for domestic web developers to use them, which will in turn improve the level of web accessibility of online resources in Ukraine.

February 23, 2023

The WCAG guidelines ensure developers can make web content more accessible to users, such as those who are visually or hearing impaired, but they have never been officially translated into Ukrainian before.

Photo: Andrii Krepkykh / UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 23 February 2023 – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, which offer recommendations on how to improve the accessibility of web content, are now available in Ukrainian. They have been published on the website of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Translating the WCAGs is a long and arduous process, closely governed by official consortium procedures, and requiring coordinated cooperation between various groups to ensure there are consolidated definitions of all the terms. The verification of the translation, which was initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine as part of its “DIA Support project,” and which was implemented with funding from Sweden, was carried out by representatives of specialized authorities, public organizations, businesses, and developers.

The guidelines ensure developers can make web content more accessible to a wider range of users, such as those who are visually or hearing impaired. The current version WCAG 2.1 can now be applied not just on desktops, but laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, his team is working to make Ukraine the most convenient country in the world. Online services should be as accessible as possible to all Ukrainians, so his team set the goal of not only digitizing 100% of public services, but also ensuring everyone has equal access, he said.

Together with our partners from the UN Development Programme, we’re working on implementing the National Strategy for a Barrier-Free Environment,” Fedorov said. “An important part of the strategy is the approval of standards for the accessibility of mobile applications and the introduction of the WCAG accessibility standard for the web resources of the executive authorities. The translation of international standards into Ukrainian is another step in this direction. We’ll work to ensure that the entire Diia service ecosystem follows these standards.

The Ministry of Digital Transformation, with the support of UNDP in Ukraine, previously developed a new state standard for digital accessibility DSTU EN 301 549:2022 “Information technologies. Requirements for the accessibility of ICT products and services,” which entered into force on June 15, 2022. It duplicated the European standard of the same name, which is based on the current version of WCAG 2.1 – in use under European legislation for several years.

The previous state standard for web accessibility in Ukraine was adopted in 2016 and was based on the previous version of the guidelines – WCAG 2.0, which did not contain recommendations for mobile devices. The instructions were also not in Ukrainian, so they were not fully accessible to developers.

Experts have developed a government resolution that will make compliance with the requirements of the state standard mandatory at all levels of the executive authorities. The draft is now under consideration by the government.

Jaco Cilliers, UNDP Ukraine Resident Representative, said the translation was an important step for updating national legislation in the field of web accessibility and bringing it into line with the best global practices. He said the Ministry of Digital Transformation, in close cooperation with UNDP, and with strategic support from Sweden, had made significant progress in this regard.

Over the past two years, the government has fundamentally changed the situation with web accessibility,” Cilliers said. “The situation with the accessibility of state web resources in the country was studied, a new state standard that accounts for modern world accessibility practices was approved, and a decision to make it mandatory was prepared. At the same time, it was important for us not only to oblige Ukrainian developers to comply with the new recommendations, but to ensure that they understand them, and have access to them.”

“Thanks to the translation Ukrainian web developers will be able to apply the principles of web accessibility more in their work, and the process will become easier for them. And this means greater accessibility and convenience of using online resources in Ukraine for all people, which is the main goal of digitalization.”

Media inquiries

Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Communications Team Leader, yuliia.samus@undp.org