Accessibility Guide

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How to use

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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The title element is necessary for users to understand what the page is about, what site they are on, and if the page changed. Meaningful titles can also help with search engine optimization and make content more discoverable.

Applicable Roles


Table headers tell users which data cells are related to that topic. This makes it easier to understand how table data is structured, especially if using assistive technology to navigate a table.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator Developer

Labels tell the user what to put into a text input, a checkbox/radio button, or what will happen if a button is pressed. Labels also provide a benefit of putting the user in the field if they click on an actual label for a text input.

Applicable Roles


Landmarks are helpful for understanding a broad sense of the page layout, and can help assistive technology users easily navigate to different areas of a webpage. Landmarks include a header, main content, footer, and navigation, among others.

Applicable Roles


Content that flashes repeatedly can be harmful to people with photo-sensitivity or seizure disorders like epilepsy. Flashing content can lead to reactions like vomiting and nausea, and trigger seizures if the flashes are severe enough.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator 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: