Understanding WCAG 2.0

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Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data):
Understanding SC 3.3.4

3.3.4 Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data): For Web pages that cause legal commitments or financial transactions for the user to occur, that modify or delete user-controllable data in data storage systems, or that submit user test responses, at least one of the following is true: (Level AA)

  1. Reversible: Submissions are reversible.

  2. Checked: Data entered by the user is checked for input errors and the user is provided an opportunity to correct them.

  3. Confirmed: A mechanism is available for reviewing, confirming, and correcting information before finalizing the submission.

Intent of this Success Criterion

The intent of this Success Criterion is to help users with disabilities avoid serious consequences as the result of a mistake when performing an action that cannot be reversed. For example, purchasing non-refundable airline tickets or submitting an order to purchase stock in a brokerage account are financial transactions with serious consequences. If a user has made a mistake on the date of air travel, he or she could end up with a ticket for the wrong day that cannot be exchanged. If the user made a mistake on the number of stock shares to be purchased, he or she could end up purchasing more stock than intended. Both of these types of mistakes involve transactions that take place immediately and cannot be altered afterwards, and can be very costly. Likewise, it may be an unrecoverable error if users unintentionally modify or delete data stored in a database that they later need to access, such as their entire travel profile in a travel services web site. When referring to modification or deletion of 'user controllable' data, the intent is to prevent mass loss of data such as deleting a file or record. It is not the intent to require a confirmation for each save command or the simple creation or editing of documents, records or other data.

Users with disabilities may be more likely to make mistakes. People with reading disabilities may transpose numbers and letters, and those with motor disabilities may hit keys by mistake. Providing the ability to reverse actions allows users to correct a mistake that could result in serious consequences. Providing the ability to review and correct information gives the user an opportunity to detect a mistake before taking an action that has serious consequences.

User-controllable data is user-viewable data that the user can change and/or delete through an intentional action. Examples of the user controlling such data would be updating the phone number and address for the user's account, or deleting a record of past invoices from a website. It does not refer such things as internet logs and search engine monitoring data that the user can't view or interact with directly.

Specific Benefits of Success Criterion 3.3.4:

  • Providing safeguards to avoid serious consequences resulting from mistakes helps users with all disabilities who may be more likely to make mistakes.

Examples of Success Criterion 3.3.4

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

(none currently documented)

Techniques and Failures for Success Criterion 3.3.4 - Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data)

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. [begin change]However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. Any techniques, whether published by the WCAG group or not, can be sufficient if a) they satisfy the Success Criterion and b) all of the WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements have been met.[end change]

Sufficient Techniques

Instructions: Select the situation below that matches your content. Each situation includes techniques or combinations of techniques that are known and documented to be sufficient for that situation.

Situation A: If an application causes a legal transaction to occur, such as making a purchase or submitting an income tax return:

  1. G164: Providing a stated time within which an online request (or transaction) may be amended or canceled by the user after making the request

  2. G98: Providing the ability for the user to review and correct answers before submitting

  3. G155: Providing a checkbox in addition to a submit button

Situation B: If an action causes information to be deleted:

  1. G99: Providing the ability to recover deleted information

  2. G168: Requesting confirmation to continue with selected action

  3. G155: Providing a checkbox in addition to a submit button

Situation C: If the Web page includes a testing application:

  1. G98: Providing the ability for the user to review and correct answers before submitting

  2. G168: Requesting confirmation to continue with selected action

Additional Techniques (Advisory) for 3.3.4

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

Common Failures for SC 3.3.4

The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of Success Criterion 3.3.4 by the WCAG Working Group.

(No failures currently documented)

Key Terms

Web page

a non-embedded resource obtained from a single URI using HTTP plus any other resources that are used in the rendering or intended to be rendered together with it by a user agent

Note 1: Although any "other resources" would be rendered together with the primary resource, they would not necessarily be rendered simultaneously with each other.

Note 2: For the purposes of conformance with these guidelines, a resource must be "non-embedded" within the scope of conformance to be considered a Web page.

Example 1: A Web resource including all embedded images and media.

Example 2: A Web mail program built using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). The program lives entirely at http://example.com/mail, but includes an inbox, a contacts area and a calendar. Links or buttons are provided that cause the inbox, contacts, or calendar to display, but do not change the URI of the page as a whole.

Example 3: A customizable portal site, where users can choose content to display from a set of different content modules.

Example 4: When you enter "http://shopping.example.com/" in your browser, you enter a movie-like interactive shopping environment where you visually move around in a store dragging products off of the shelves around you and into a visual shopping cart in front of you. Clicking on a product causes it to be demonstrated with a specification sheet floating alongside. This might be a single-page Web site or just one page within a Web site.

input error

information provided by the user that is not accepted

Note: This includes:

  1. Information that is required by the Web page but omitted by the user

  2. Information that is provided by the user but that falls outside the required data format or values

legal commitments

transactions where the person incurs a legally binding obligation or benefit

Example: A marriage license, a stock trade (financial and legal), a will, a loan, adoption, signing up for the army, a contract of any type, etc.


process or technique for achieving a result

Note 1: The mechanism may be explicitly provided in the content, or may be relied upon to be provided by either the platform or by user agents, including assistive technologies.

Note 2: The mechanism needs to meet all success criteria for the conformance level claimed.


data that is intended to be accessed by users

Note: This does not refer to such things as Internet logs and search engine monitoring data.

Example: Name and address fields for a user's account.