Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsMIKE PACIELLO: So the web access building content guidelines are the result really of a number of individuals who are involved in the early to mid 90s that were talking about the importance of making the web accessible, even when the web was newly launched, especially when we saw the creation of the Mosaic browser, the add of graphics. We realised how much this would be a hindrance to individuals who are blind and low vision. In 1997, we launched the Web Accessibility Initiative through the World Wide Web Consortium.

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 secondsAnd through the Web Accessibility initiative programme, the development of the first web content accessibility guidelines, so WCAG 1 was created as a result of a lot of efforts, including myself, Gregg Vanderheiden, Julia Brewer, and some of the individuals who are well-known in the international community of people with disabilities. About 10 years later, or in 2008, I believe it was, the second version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which is currently the international standard for web accessibility and in all websites, whether here in Europe or, of course, in the United States and outside. Fundamentally, it has become the de facto standard for ensuring that websites, and web applications, and web services, are accessible to all people with disabilities.

A brief history of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The topic of web accessibility is nearly as old as the web itself. In 1994 Tim Berners-Lee had already mentioned web accessibility at the second World Wide Web conference.

Just a few months later, in January 1995, Gregg Vanderheiden compiled and released the first guidelines on web accessibility.

In subsequent years, countless other guidelines on web accessibility have followed, released by many different authors and institutions. The University of Madison, Wisconsin, unified and recompiled many of them in the ‘Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines and version 8 of these guidelines can be seen as a starting point of the W3C’s WCAG guidelines.


In this video, one of the pioneers of web accessibility, Mike Paciello of the Paciellogroup, provides us with an overview of the history of WCAG.


There are links related to this topic available from the bottom of this page.


© This video is created by Johannes Kepler Universität Linz and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

© This text is a derivative of a work created by Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.


Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton

Contact FutureLearn for Support