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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Some users need to increase the font size or zoom in on content in order to access content. If zooming is disabled, the text could be harder to see, or require additional assistive technology like magnifiers to access the content. Some pages may also not support responsive design out of the box, and may need zoom to even use content on mobile.

Applicable Roles


Picking out links from a block of text can be challenging for users with low vision or color vision disabilities, if color is the only way to tell the difference. Providing additional cues like underlines or backgrounds can make it easier to find links without needing color alone.

Applicable Roles


People that don't use a mouse, use assistive tech like speech recognition or on-screen keyboards, and take longer to read a page may need more time to complete tasks or navigate a page. Setting time limits on content, or not letting users know there is a time limit, means some content won't be detectable or reachable by your users.

Applicable Roles


User interface (UI) elements like links and buttons are critical in telling a user what will happen if the element is selected. If the element just uses an icon as the link without a text alternative, someone using assistive tech may not know where they will end up when clicking it, or what command to give the computer to make the feature work.

Some icons may not also be as intuitive to users from different cultures, or who aren't visually-oriented learners.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator Developer

If your form has a series of checkboxes or radio buttons, like a "yes/maybe/no" set of options, it helps users to understand what overall question each of those buttons is answering. This grouping can tie inputs that relate to each other as well, instead of seeming like random inputs.

Applicable Roles


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: