List of Checkpoints for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

W3C Working Draft 26-Feb-1999

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Related Documents:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
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, which accompanies the "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines", is a checklist for Web content developers. Each checkpoint in the guidelines appears in the checklist below, organized by concept.

This document is part of a series of accessibility documents published by the Web Accessibility Initiative.

Status of this document

The current document should be reviewed by interested parties as part of the "last call" period of the associated "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines". The last call period will end on March 19, 1999.

This is a W3C Working Draft for review by W3C members and other interested parties. It is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use W3C Working Drafts as reference material or to cite them as other than "work in progress". This is work in progress and does not imply endorsement by, or the consensus of, either W3C or members of the WAI GL Working Group.

This document has been produced as part of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, and is intended as a draft of a Proposed Recommendation for authoring accessible Web pages. The goal of the WAI Page Author Guidelines Working Group is discussed in the Working Group charter.


Some checkpoints are more important to accessibility than others and so each one has been assigned a priority level. Some checkpoints specify a priority level that may change under some (indicated) conditions.

The priority levels used in this document are defined as follows:

[Priority 1]
This checkpoint must be satisfied by an author, or one or more groups of users 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]
This checkpoint should be satisfied by an author, or one or more groups of users will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
[Priority 3]
This checkpoint may be satisfied by an author to make it easier for one or more groups of users to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.

The checkpoints have been written so that it will be possible to verify when they have been satisfied.

Priority 1 checkpoints

In General (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
4.1 Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.       
8.4 For pages that use style sheets or presentation markup, ensure that the contents of each page are ordered and structured.       
9.1 Until user agents provide the ability to stop the refresh, do not use periodically auto-refreshing pages       
9.3 Avoid any blinking or updating of the screen that causes flicker.       
6.1 Clearly identify changes in the (natural) language of a document's text.       
16.1 Use language that is as simple as possible, while appropriate for the site's content.       
And if you use images and image maps (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
1.1 Provide text equivalents for all images        
1.3 Provide a text equivalent for each active region of an image map.       
1.6 Replace ASCII art with an image or describe the ASCII art and offer a means (e.g., a link) to skip over it. [Priority 1 or Priority 2 depending on the importance of the information (e.g., an important chart).]      
2.1 Provide a long description of each graphic, script, or applet that conveys important information.       
And if you use tables (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
7.3 For data tables, identify headers for rows and columns.       
7.4 For data tables that have more than one row and/or more than one column of header cells, use markup to associate data cells and header cells.       
And if you use frames (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
8.2 Ensure that descriptions of dynamic content are updated when the dynamic content changes.       
14.1 Title each frame so that users can keep track of frames by title.       
And if you use applets and scripts (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
1.2 Provide text equivalents for all applets and other programmatic objects.       
8.3 For scripts that present important information or functionality, provide an alternative, equivalent presentation or mechanism.       
And if you use multimedia (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
3.1 For stand-alone audio files, provide a text transcript of all words (spoken or sung) and all significant sounds.       
3.2 For audio associated with video, synchronize the text transcript with the video.       
3.3 Where sounds are played automatically, provide visual notification and transcripts. [Priority 1 or Priority 2 depending on the importance of the sound.]      
2.2 For short animations such as "animated gifs," provide a text equivalent and a long description if needed.       
2.3 For movies, provide auditory descriptions that are synchronized with the original audio.       
And if all else fails (Priority 1) YesNoN/A
13.5 If, after best efforts, you can not avoid using a non-W3C technology or any W3C technology in an accessible way, 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
4.2 Use foreground and background color combinations that provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone with color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen.       
9.2 Until user agents provide the ability to stop the refresh, do not use one-time refresh in place of server redirect.        
5.1 Nest headings properly.       
5.2 Encode list structure and list items properly.       
5.3 Mark up quotations. Do not use quotation markup for formatting effects such as indentation.       
5.4 Use style sheets to control layout and presentation.       
5.6 Use relative rather than absolute units in markup language attribute values and style sheet property values.       
6.3 Specify the expansion of abbreviations and acronyms.       
13.1 If W3C technologies are used (e.g. HTML, XML, SMIL, MathML, etc.), use the latest W3C specification whenever possible.       
13.2 If W3C technologies are used, avoid deprecated language features whenever possible.       
15.1 Wherever possible, make link phrases as terse as possible yet as meaningful as possible when read on their own or in succession.       
5.5 Where possible, use a markup language to mark up content rather than using images.       
15.2 Use metadata to add semantic information to pages and sites.       
And if you use images and image maps (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
1.4 Provide redundant textual links for each active region of an image map. [Priority 2 - if client-side image maps are used, Priority 1 - if server-side image maps are used.]      
1.5 Use 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
7.2 If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural markup for the purpose of visual formatting.       
12.5 Provide a linear text alternative (on the current page or some other) for all tables that lay out text in parallel, word-wrapped columns.       
7.1 Avoid using tables for layout.        
And if you use frames (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
8.1 Provide an alternative presentation or page when the primary content is dynamic.       
14.2 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
12.4 For all form controls with implicitly associated labels, ensure that the label is properly positioned.       
14.3 Group form controls. [Priority 2 - for radio buttons and checkboxes, Priority 3 - for other controls.]      
14.4 Associate labels explicitly with their controls.       
14.5 Divide long lists of choices into manageable groups.       
And if you use applets and scripts (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
8.5 For applets and programmatic objects, when possible provide an alternative function or presentation in a format other than an applet.        
9.4 Avoid movement in pages, but if it must be used, provide a mechanism to allow users to freeze motion or updates in applets and scripts or use style sheets and scripting to create movement.       
10.1 Where possible, make programmatic elements, such as scripts and applets, directly accessible or compatible with assistive technologies [Priority 1 if information or functionality is important and not presented elsewhere, otherwise Priority 2.]      
11.1 If possible, ensure that all elements that have their own interface are keyboard operable.       
12.1 Do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window without informing the user.       
11.4 For scripts, specify logical event handlers rather than device-dependent event handlers.       
And if you use multimedia (Priority 2) YesNoN/A
2.4 Provide a text version of the auditory description that is collated with the text transcript (captions) of the primary audio track.       

Priority 3 checkpoints

In General (Priority 3) YesNoN/A
6.2 Identify the primary (natural) language of a document.       
11.2 Create a logical tab order through links, form controls, and objects.       
11.3 Provide keyboard shortcuts to links, including those in client-side image maps, form controls, and groups of form controls.       
13.3 Indicate the content type of the link target, especially when linking to resources that are not W3C technologies.       
15.3 Use a clear, consistent navigation structure.       
15.4 Offer navigation bars to highlight and give access to the navigation structure.       
15.5 Offer a site map or table of contents that makes the structure of a Web site apparent and facilitates navigation.       
15.6 Provide a description of the general layout of the site, the access features used, and how to use them.       
15.7 Offer different types of searches for different skill levels and preferences.       
15.8 Place distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc.       
15.9 Facilitate off-line browsing by creating a single downloadable file for documents that exist as a series of separate pages.       
15.10 Group related links, identify the group (for user agents), and provide a mechanism to bypass the group (until user agents provide this mechanism).       
16.2 Use icons or graphics (with a text equivalent) where they facilitate comprehension of the page.       
16.3 Create a consistent style of presentation between pages.       
13.4 For servers. If a resource is served in various formats or languages, use content negotiation to determine the format or language preferred by the user.       
And if you use tables (Priority 3) YesNoN/A
7.5 Provide summaries for tables.       
7.6 Provide abbreviations for header labels.       
And if you use forms (Priority 3) YesNoN/A
12.2 Include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas.       
12.3 Include non-link, printable characters (surrounded by spaces) between links that occur consecutively.