Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G62: Providing a glossary


Any technology containing text.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to make the definition of a word, phrase, or abbreviation available by providing the definition in a glossary. A glossary is an alphabetical list of words, phrases, and abbreviations with their definitions. Glossaries are most appropriate when the words, phrases, and abbreviations used within the content relate to a specific discipline or technology area. A glossary can also provide the pronunciation of a word or phrase.

The glossary is included at the end of the Web page or the glossary is located via one of the mechanisms for locating content within a set of Web pages. (See Understanding Success Criterion 2.4.5.)

If the glossary contains several definitions for the same word, phrase, or abbreviation, simply providing the glossary is not sufficient to satisfy this Success Criterion. A different technique should be used to find the correct definition. This is especially important if the uses of the word, phrase, or abbreviation are not unique within the Web page, that is, if different occurrences of the item have different definitions.


Example 1

Users of on line chat forums have created several acronyms and abbreviations to speed up typing conversations on the computer. For example, LOL refers to "laughing out loud" and FWIW abbreviates "for what it's worth". The site provides a glossary page that lists the expansions for the commonly used acronyms and abbreviations.

Example 2

A Web page discussing mathematical theory includes a glossary of commonly used mathematical terms, abbreviations and acronyms.

Example 3

A textbook contains a glossary of new vocabulary words introduced in each chapter.

Example 4

Dutch text uses the phrase ' Hij ging met de kippen op stok ' (He went to roost with the chickens). The glossary explains that this phrase means ' Hij ging vroeg naar bed ' (He went to bed early).

Example 5: A glossary of idiomatic expressions

The American novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" includes many idiomatic expressions that were used in the southwestern United States in the 1840s. In an online edition designed for students, each idiomatic expression is linked to an item in the glossary.


No resources available for this technique.



  1. Check that either

    • The glossary is included in the Web page, or

    • A mechanism is available to locate the glossary.

  2. Check that each word, phrase, or abbreviation to be defined is defined in the glossary

  3. Check that the glossary contains only one definition for each item.

Expected Results

Note: The definition of abbreviation used in WCAG is: "shortened form of a word, phrase, or name where the original expansion has not been rejected by the organization that it refers to and where the abbreviation has not become part of the language."

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.