List of Checkpoints for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

W3C Proposed Recommendation 24-Mar-1999

This version:
Latest version:
Previous version:
Related Documents:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Wendy Chisholm <chisholm@trace.wisc.edu>
Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>


This document is an appendix to the W3C "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0". It provides a list of all checkpoints from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, organized by concept, as a checklist for Web content developers. Please refer to the Guidelines document for introductory information, information about related documents, a glossary of terms, and more.

This document has been produced as part of the Web Accessibility Initiative. The goal of the WAI Web Content Guidelines Working Group is discussed in the Working Group charter.

Status of this document

This document is a Proposed Recommendation of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is currently undergoing review by the Members of the W3C. Review comments on this specification should be sent by 21 April 1999 to w3c-wai-gl@w3.org. An archive of public comments is available. W3C Members may send their formal comments, visible only to the W3C Team, to w3c-wai-wcag-review@w3.org.

This specification is a revision of the last call public Working Draft dated 26 February 1999. It incorporates suggestions from reviewers and further deliberations of the Web Content Guidelines Working Group. A detailed list of changes to the document is available from the Web Content Guidelines Working Group site.

Publication as a Proposed Recommendation does not imply endorsement by the W3C membership. This is still a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite W3C Drafts as other than "work in progress."

A list of current W3C Recommendations and other technical documents can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR.

This document has been produced as part of the Web Accessibility Initiative. The goal of the Web Content Guidelines Working Group is discussed in the Working Group charter.


Each checkpoint has priority level assigned by the Working Group based on the checkpoint's impact on accessibility.

[Priority 1]
A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
[Priority 2]
A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
[Priority 3]
A Web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.

Some checkpoints specify a priority level that may change under certain (indicated) conditions.

Priority 1 checkpoints

In General (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
1.1 Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content). This includes: images, graphical representations of text, image map regions, short animations (e.g., animated GIFs), applets, ascii art, frames, scripts, inserted list bullets, sounds (played with or without user interaction), stand-alone audio files, synthesized speech, audio tracks of video, and video.      
2.1 Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.      
4.1 Clearly identify changes in the natural language of a document's text and any text equivalents (e.g., captions) of non-text content.      
6.1 Organize content logically using appropriate structural markup so the organization remains clear even when associated style sheets are turned off or are not supported.      
7.1 Until user agents allow users to control it, avoid causing the screen to flicker.      
14.1 Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for a site's content.      
And if you use images and image maps (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
1.2 Provide redundant text links for each active region of an image map. [Priority 1 - if server-side image maps are used, Priority 2 - if client-side image maps are used. Redundant text links for client-side image maps are only required until user agents render text equivalents for the map links.]      
1.5 Replace ASCII art with an image or explain it. [Priority 1 or Priority 2 depending on the importance of the information.]      
9.1 Provide client-side image maps instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.      
And if you use tables (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
5.1 For data tables, identify row and column headers.      
5.2 For data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers, use markup to associate data cells and header cells.      
And if you use frames (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
6.2 Ensure that descriptions and text alternatives for dynamic content are updated when the dynamic content changes.      
12.1 Title each frame so that users can keep track of frames by title.      
And if you use applets and scripts (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
6.3 Ensure that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off or not supported. If this is not possible, provide equivalent mechanisms on an alternative accessible page.      
And if you use multimedia (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
1.3 For each movie, provide an auditory description of the video track and synchronize it with the audio track.      
1.4 For any time-based presentation (e.g., a movie, animation, or multimedia presentation), synchronize equivalent alternatives (e.g., captions or video descriptions) with the presentation.      
And if all else fails (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
11.4 If, after best efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a link to an alternative page that uses W3C technologies, is accessible, has equivalent information, and is updated as often as the inaccessible (original) page.      

Priority 2 checkpoints

In General (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
2.2 Ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen. [Priority 2 for images, Priority 3 for text].      
3.1 When an appropriate markup language exists, use markup rather than images to convey information.      
3.2 Use header elements to convey logical structure and use them according to specification.      
3.3 Mark up lists and list items properly.      
3.4 Mark up quotations. Do not use quotation markup for formatting effects such as indentation.      
3.5 Create documents that validate to published formal grammars.      
3.6 Use style sheets to control layout and presentation.      
3.7 Use relative rather than absolute units in markup language attribute values and style sheet property values.      
4.2 Specify the expansion of abbreviations and acronyms. [Priority 2 for the first occurrence of the acronym or abbreviation in a given document, Priority 3 thereafter.]      
7.2 Until user agents allow users to control it, avoid causing content to blink (i.e., change presentation at a regular rate, such as turning on and off).      
7.4 Until user agents provide the ability to stop the refresh, do not create periodically auto-refreshing pages.      
7.5 Until user agents provide the ability to stop auto-redirect, do not use markup to redirect pages automatically. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects.      
11.1 Use W3C technologies and use the latest versions when they are supported.      
11.2 Avoid deprecated features of W3C technologies.      
12.3 Divide large blocks of information into more manageable groups where natural and appropriate.      
13.1 Clearly identify the target of each link.      
13.2 Provide metadata to add semantic information to pages and sites.      
13.3 Provide information about the general layout of a site (e.g., a site map, or table of contents).      
13.4 Use navigation mechanisms in a consistent manner.      
And if you use images and image maps (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
3.8 Provide individual button controls in a form rather than simulating a set of buttons with an image map.      
And if you use tables (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
5.3 Avoid using tables for layout.      
5.4 If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural markup for the purpose of visual formatting.      
10.3 Until user agents or assistive technologies render side-by-side text correctly, provide a linear text alternative (on the current page or some other) for all tables that lay out text in parallel, word-wrapped columns.      
And if you use frames (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
6.5 Provide an alternative presentation or page when the primary content is dynamic (e.g., when frame contents change, when scripts cause changes, etc.).      
12.2 Describe the purpose of frames and how frames relate to each other if it is not obvious by frame titles alone.      
And if you use forms (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
10.2 For all form controls with implicitly associated labels, ensure that the label is properly positioned.      
12.4 Associate labels explicitly with their controls.      
And if you use applets and scripts (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
6.4 For scripts and applets, until user agents provide device-independent means to activate event handlers, ensure that event handlers are keyboard operable.      
7.3 Until user agents allow users to freeze moving content, avoid movement in pages.      
8.1 Make programmatic elements such as scripts and applets directly accessible or compatible with assistive technologies [Priority 1 if functionality is important and not presented elsewhere, otherwise Priority 2.]      
9.2 Ensure that all elements that have their own interface are keyboard operable.      
9.3 For scripts, specify logical event handlers rather than device-dependent event handlers.      
10.1 Until user agents allow users to turn off spawned windows, do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window without informing the user.      

Priority 3 checkpoints

In General (Priority 3) YesNoN/A
4.3 Identify the primary natural language of a document.      
9.4 Create a logical tab order through links, form controls, and objects.      
9.5 Provide keyboard shortcuts to important links (including those in client-side image maps), form controls, and groups of form controls.      
11.3 Provide information so that users may receive documents according to their preferences (e.g., language, content type, etc.)      
13.5 Provide navigation bars to highlight and give access to the navigation mechanism.      
13.6 Group related links, identify the group (for user agents), and, until user agents do so, provide a way to bypass the group.      
13.7 Enable different types of searches for different skill levels and preferences.      
13.8 Place distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc.      
13.9 Provide information about document collections (i.e., documents comprising multiple pages.).      
13.10 Provide a means to skip over multi-line ASCII art.      
14.2 Provide visual or auditory equivalents to text where they facilitate comprehension of the page.      
14.3 Create a style of presentation that is consistent across pages.      
And if you use tables (Priority 3) YesNoN/A
5.5 Provide summaries for tables.      
5.6 Provide abbreviations for header labels.      
And if you use forms (Priority 3) YesNoN/A
10.4 Until user agents handle empty controls correctly, include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas.      
10.5 Until user agents or assistive technologies render adjacent links distinctly, include non-link, printable characters (surrounded by spaces) between adjacent links.