Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G101: Providing the definition of a word or phrase used in an unusual or restricted way


Any technology containing text.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to provide a definition for any word used in an unusual or restricted way.

A word is used in an unusual or restricted way when:

This technique can also be used to provide definitions for jargon, that is, the specialized vocabulary used in a particular profession or technical field and understood by people in that field but not by people outside the field.

The technique can also be used to define idiomatic expressions. For example, speakers of a language who live in a particular region may use idiomatic expressions that are accepted by everyone in the region but not by people from other regions where the same language is spoken.


Example 1: A term used in a restricted way

The word "technology" is widely used to cover everything from the stone tools used by early humans to contemporary digital devices such as cell phones. But in WCAG 2.0, the word technology is used in a more restricted way: it means a mechanism for encoding instructions to be rendered, played or executed by user agents, including markup languages, data formats, and programming languages used in producing and delivering Web content.

Example 2: A word used according to an obsolete definition

The word "ether" is defined as a substance that filled interplanetary space: "He believed that sound traveled through the ether."

Example 3: Jargon

The word "driver" is defined as software that contains specific instructions for a printer: "It may be necessary to update the driver for your printer."

Example 4: An idiomatic expression

Some people say "spill the beans" when they mean "reveal a secret", e.g., "In the police station, Joe spilled the beans about the plot to kidnap the prime minister."

Example 5: An idiomatic expression in Japanese

This example uses parentheses to provide the definition of an idiomatic expression in Japanese. The phrase in Japanese says that "he throws a spoon." It means that there was nothing he can do and finally he gives up.


Example 6: An unfamiliar adopted foreign word in English

Users may not understand the meaning of an unfamiliar word adopted from another language: "We need to leave town pronto (quickly).

Example 7: Unfamiliar adopted words in Japanese

In Japanese, Kata-kana is used for adopted foreign words. If words are unfamiliar to users, provide the meaning or translation so that users can understand them.


English translation: "Accessibility" (it can be accessed by all users including elderly people and people with disabilities) is an essential aspect of the Websites.


English translation: Using both layout table and CSS is called "hybrid" (combination of multiple forms).


No resources available for this technique.



For each word or phrase used in an unusual or restricted way:

  1. Check that a definition is provided for the word or phrase

Expected Results

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.