The three little wolves

In which we learn about the three different conformance levels (A, AA and AAA) in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

There was an old wolf with three little pups—well, more like teen wolves as they were already eight weeks old. So she sent them out to make lives and homes of their own.

“We’ll make you proud,” the wolves said in unison and left.

The first little wolf, let’s call him Level A, walked until he reached a clearing where many other wolves had built their houses.

Looking around he was bothered by the state of most of the houses. Some didn’t have chimneys despite their roaring fireplaces and others lacked doors.

“I can do better than this,” he said and started building an intricate automatic sliding door.

Caught up in the details of his work, he soon forgot his best intentions and built his house to the most basic of standards.

A house only by name, it lacked essentials like windows, heating, and a functional toilet.

Finished, he took a step back to observe his achievement, “A-mazing, no one has seen a door quite like this before, of that I’m sure.”

Little did he know that some will find it impossible to access his house.

It didn’t take long before John Ham, the inspector from Pig Co arrived, knocked at the door, and said:

“Little wolf, little wolf, let me come in.”

“Just use the door. Jump, wait for half a second, then twirl to get in,” Level A replied.

So he huffed, and he puffed as he jumped and he twirled but he couldn’t get in and after a few tries he gave up.

Catching his breath, the inspector shook his head and noted, “Fail,” in the checklist.

Disappointed, he slapped an ‘Unfit for wolf habitation’ sticker on the uneven wall and walked away, “You’ve got 4 months to conform to regulations.”

Simple solutions often means choosing what not to build

The second little wolf, let’s call them Level AA, reached the very same clearing where little Level A and all the other wolves had built their houses.

Looking around they were dismayed by the state of most of the houses. Especially the one without a functional toilet.

“I can do better than this,” they said and began speaking to some of the wolves who were unable to visit their friends due to the lack of doors.

In doing so, the second little wolf learned that simple solutions often meant choosing what not to build, rather than what to build.

They built their house following standards and best practices and decided against nonsense doors which only a few wolves could use.

Whilst not to the highest of standards, it struck the balance between budget and quality and meant the little wolf completed it on time.

Finished, they took a step back to observe their achievement, “AA-mazing, this must be compliant.”

Little did they know that some will find it difficult to access their house.

It didn’t take long before the inspector from Pig Co arrived, knocked at the door, and said:

“Little wolf, little wolf, let me come in.”

“It’s open. Use the door to get in,” Level AA replied.

Still huffing and puffing from the previous house, the inspector was exhausted and irritated until he noticed the ‘Press to open’ button located next to the door and smiled as he noted, “Success,” in the checklist.

It didn’t take him long to inspect the rest of the house.

Pleased, the inspector slapped a ‘Fit for wolf habitation’ sticker on the wall, “Well done on already meeting the new WCAG 2.1 regulations as well,” he said as he walked away.

Building for wolves, not checklists are what really matters

The last little wolf, let’s call her Level AAA, reached the very same clearing where little Level A, Level AA and all the other wolves had built their houses.

Looking around she was horrified by the state of most of the houses. Especially the one without a functional toilet.

“I can do better than this,” she said and began by hiring some of the wolves who were unable to visit their friends due to the lack of doors.

By making her team include the very wolves she was building for she learned that whilst compliance is important, building for wolves, not checklists are what really matters.

Together, they built her house to the highest standards available.

Finished, Level AAA and her team took a step back to observe their achievement, “AAA-mazing start but we can do better.”

For she knew some will find it somewhat difficult to access her house.

It didn’t take long before the inspector arrived, knocked at the door, and said:

“Little wolf, little wolf, let me come in.”

“No, no, I’ll come out to you.”

So he oohed, and he aahed as he walked through the house, noting, “Success,” in the checklist and writing down ideas next to each criterion.

“I’ve never seen a toilet quite like this before,” the inspector gasped as they reached the second floor.

“Thank you, Channel 4 has already been in touch about featuring it on Britain’s Best Bogs.”

It took him a while to inspect the rest of the house as other little ingenious features kept grabbing his attention.

Thrilled, the inspector finally slapped a ‘Fit for wolf habitation’ sticker on the wall and asked the little wolf to sit down together so they could discuss how to best teach all the other wolves how to fix their houses and they lived happily ever afterwards.

The end.