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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Autofill on certain inputs makes it easier for users to understand what data is needed to fill out the form correctly, and the purpose of some form fields. Autocomplete is especially helpful for users with motor, memory, or cognitive disabilities, where the purpose of the field may need to be presented in another way.

Applicable Roles


Captioning makes video and live events more inclusive for people who are deaf and/or have hearing deficiencies. It also helps users understand content if the surrounding environment makes the video hard to understand (like a noisy restaurant or concert), and can aid in learning by letting users follow the captions as they watch video.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator

It is confusing for a user if the form isn't validated correctly, but there's no clear indication why. Clear error messages describing how to fix the issue will allow users to fix issues faster and be able to submit the form.

Applicable Roles


Meaningful link text helps users know where the link will take them, which makes it easier to navigate across websites. Link text that isn't clear or accurate tends to create a confusing experience, or makes users unsure the link they're clicking on is safe.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator Developer

Some images are too complex to be briefly described by alt text. Complex images can include charts, graphs, artwork, maps, etc. These images need a longer description on the page that can go into more detail about the non-text content.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator

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: