Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G97: Providing the first use of an abbreviation immediately before or after the expanded form


Any technology containing text.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to make the expanded form of an abbreviation available by associating the expanded form with its abbreviation the first time it occurs within a Web page. The expansion of any abbreviation can be found by searching the Web page for the first use.

For English, when shortening a word, phrase or name by means of an abbreviation, initialism, acronym, or other shortened form, it is advisable to provide the full form before providing the abbreviated form. This makes the text easier to read and is advised by many style guides. Other languages may have different conventions.

Note that some abbreviations require explanations rather than expansions. This technique is not appropriate for such abbreviations.

This technique is applied to the first occurrence of an abbreviation in a Web page. When combining multiple resources into a single Web page, the abbreviation would be expanded at the beginning of each resource. In this case, however, using a different technique for providing the expanded form may be more appropriate.


Example 1

"The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) was established in 1950 to provide protection and assistance to refugees."

"The WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative) demonstrates the W3C commitment to accessibility."


Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.



For each abbreviation in the content,

  1. Search for the first use of that abbreviation in the authored component.

  2. Check that the first use is immediately preceded or followed by the expanded form of the abbreviation.

  3. Check that the expanded form is the correct expanded form for the use of the abbreviation.

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.