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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Text that needs emphasis or special formatting should be done in the semantic way, especially if the formatting contains meaning. This includes bolding, italicizing, and insertions or deletions.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator

For people that navigate a webpage using speech commands or speech input devices, they need to know the accessible name of a form input or button, so they can activate it. Screen readers, braille displays, and other assistive technology also relay the accessible name to people using them to navigate.

If the visible name of a button or form input doesn't match the accessible name, this can be confusing at best. At worst, the site is not usable for all users.

Applicable Roles


Text and interactive elements need to have high contrast so that your content is readable to all users. High contrast especially benefits site visitors that may have low vision or experience color blindness. It can also help mobile users still see content even if the screen is being affected by sun glare.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator Developer

A user that navigates by keyboard, speech recognition, or other assistive technology needs a way to be able to navigate out of a piece of web content. If the user requires a mouse to get away from the content, this can block content from users or force them to refresh the page to escape.

Applicable Roles


Users with low vision or reading disabilities benefit from having text with increased line spacing, enough margin and/or padding, and fonts that are easier to read. For users that may need even more spacing, or a different font size or type, rendering the content so that it is customizable to the user's needs is even more important.

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: