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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Describing content in solely visual ways, such as "above," "below," or “to the left” won't convey for people that are blind, have low vision, or use the structure of the webpage to navigate. Users that have color vision deficiencies or adjust browser style sheets may also miss elements described by color or shape.

Providing textual clues along with visual descriptors makes it easier for users to find content. Additionally, layouts may change with different devices—so features to the left of content on desktop may be above content on mobile, or disappear behind a mobile menu instead of staying above main content.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator Developer

Transcripts are helpful for a variety of users. Users that are deafblind, or learn best by reading text-based content can access media through a transcript. For audio only content like podcasts, transcripts make it accessible for deaf/hard-of-hearing users or users with hearing loss.

Additionally, people who want to skim the content before watching the whole video can do so with a transcript. Users on bad WiFi connections or cellular data may have difficulty accessing video or audio, so transcripts can provide a text-based version of the same content.

Applicable Roles

Content Creator

New in WCAG 2.2

A form or multi step process asking for certain info repeatedly can become fatiguing or frustrating for the person completing the process. It can also increase the chance of someone making mistakes and providing conflicting info. Processes that can either auto fill or let the user choose from previous values entered reduces the cognitive effort needed to complete that task.

Applicable Roles


People may use various display modes to use and understand web content better, like high contrast modes in Windows or reading modes in browsers. When the content or user interface is designed and developed using best practices like native HTML, the user experience should still be clear and usable.

However, certain design choices and custom features can hinder a site's ease of use in these display modes, and need extra consideration.

Applicable Roles

Designer Developer

Information that is grouped together visually should also be communicated semantically. This means informing the user a list exists, what kind of list it is, and how many items are in the list.

Without list markup, the page doesn't convey how the items are related, which doesn't communicate the grouping effectively.

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: