Accessibility Guide

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Each article can be filtered by role (content creator or developer), or by a range of topics (links, headings, navigation, etc.). You can also adjust how many items are shown per page, and navigate by the pager.

Definition of roles

Content creator: Website editor, instructor working in canvas

Developer: Web admin or developer, mainly working on web themes or complex applications

Note about roles

Roles are determined by the person most likely responsible for an area of web design and development. Guidelines can overlap, and depending on a project or site, the responsibilities may fluctuate.

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Users may view digital content on a range of devices and contexts, which may mean changing the orientation of the device. Some users may also need to fix their device to a certain orientation for better accessibility.

Applicable Roles

Designer Developer

Content that appears on focus and hover can have accessibility challenges. A user may not have intended to set hover/focus on that content, which may end up covering other page content. If someone uses zoom or magnification on their device, they may not realize important content has appeared elsewhere on the page, out of their viewport.

This can lead to confusing user experiences or barriers to content someone is trying to use.

Applicable Roles

Designer Developer

Users with low vision or other vision disabilities may enlarge text so the content's larger and more readable. Pages that don't keep the content in one column can make users scroll in two directions to find the content off-screen. This takes more effort from the user to track down the overflowing content, or makes content unusable due to it disappearing.

Applicable Roles

Designer Developer

Users that are completely blind, have low vision or have a color vision deficiency will have trouble perceiving content if only color is used to indicate differences. The content should also use patterns to distinguish content as needed, or use meaningful semantics to describe information, rather than relying on color alone.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator Developer

New in WCAG 2.2

Content that requires a dragging motion can make a task harder to complete for someone that experiences difficulty holding down a pointer device without letting go. This could mean holding down a mouse click, touch press, or other pointing device while moving it to another location. Dragging may also be challenging for someone who navigates by keyboard only, or uses different input methods like speech input or eye/head gaze pointers.

Applicable Roles

Designer Developer

WCAG 2.1 and WCAG 2.2

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 is the most recent baseline W3C Recommendation for developing accessible web content. WCAG is based on four principles:

  1. Perceivable: users must be able to detect the content using a variety of senses.
  2. Operable: users must be able to navigate and use all functionality in web content.
  3. Understandable: users need web content that is readable and predictable.
  4. Robust: users can still access content, even if technologies update or change.

As of today, Washington state policy requires WCAG 2.1 as the accessibility standard. However, we recommend meeting WCAG 2.2, as 2.2 is backward compatible and satisfies 2.1 criteria, in addition to new criteria added in 2023.

ARIA 1.2

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) provides a range of information to users about complex widgets and states of other interfaces.

Note: semantic HTML should be used instead of ARIA whenever possible.

There are resources for learning more about using ARIA when needed: