Version 3.1 of the various WAVE web accessibility evaluation tools has been released. These updates are now available in the online WAVE tool, the Chrome and Firefox extensions, the WAVE subscription API and stand-alone API, and the WAVE Runner reporting service. These updates are also available in the Pope Tech enterprise accessibility testing and reporting service.
New and Updated Accessibility Tests
WAVE will now provide an Alert for embedded or linked YouTube videos that are not captioned or that have only automated/AI-generated captions. It will also indicate an accessibility Feature for embedded or linked YouTube videos that have non-automated captioning.
Due to security and privacy limitations in collecting captioning information from YouTube, this functionality is, unfortunately, not available in the WAVE extensions.
Expanded ARIA and Title Attribute Support
WAVE now better considers ARIA in defining accessibility for page elements. For example, empty links and buttons that have an ARIA label are no longer identified as errors. Images and inputs that do not have associated labels or ARIA labels, but do have non-empty
title attribute values are no longer flagged as errors, but an Alert is presented to prompt further testing.
Expanded and Improved Contrast Testing
WAVE’s text contrast checking has been expanded and improved to test for WCAG contrast failures within most form inputs. False errors are now much less likely for text that has CSS-defined opacity, gradients, or filters.
Generic ARIA landmark regions –
role="region" that is properly labeled with
aria-labelledby are now identified as Structural Elements. These also appear within the Structure panel in WAVE.
WAVE will now identify text structures that appear to be lists but that do not use list markup. More than one adjacent item that begin with the following (or similar) patterns are indicated with an Alert:
<figure> elements are now identified as Features.
Select elements missing labels
<select> element does not have an associated label (or ARIA label), but does have a default
<option>, the option is presented visually and to screen reader users. These are no longer flagged as being an unlabelled input Error, but an Alert icon is present to prompt the WAVE user to ensure the default option sufficiently describes the select menu.
Document and Element Language
WAVE previously identified elements that have a
lang attribute, and indicate an error if the document language was not identified. This testing has been expanded to check for valid
lang attribute values. Additionally, the language defined is now visually presented within the WAVE interface to facilitate human verification.
Other Functionality Changes
The visual WAVE interface now provides clearer identification of WAVE icons that are visually hidden due to page styles, as well as icons that are associated to hidden page elements. Users are prompted to disable Styles or view the Code panel to analyze these hidden items.
For text that does not meet the WCAG contrast requirements, the WAVE API now has an option to return the foreground color, background color, contrast ratio, and an indicator if the text is “large” or not (per the WCAG definition). This can facilitate better analysis and remediation of WCAG text contrast failures.
In addition to everything above, this WAVE 3.1 update includes hundreds of minor bug fixes, testing logic enhancements and improvements, and accessibility and performance enhancements. WAVE is now faster and more accurate than ever! And we have many more improvements in store!
We’d love to hear your feedback and recommendations on how we can make WAVE even better.