Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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F71: Failure of Success Criterion 1.1.1 due to using text look-alikes to represent text without providing a text alternative


Any technology.

This failure relates to:


The objective of this failure condition is to avoid substituting characters whose glyphs look similar to the intended character, for that intended character. The Unicode character set defines thousands of characters, covering dozens of writing systems. While the glyphs for some of these characters may look like the glyphs for other characters in visual presentation, they are not processed the same by text-to-speech tools.

For example, the characters U+0063 and U+03F2 both look like the letter "c", yet the first is from the Western alphabet and the second from the Greek alphabet and not used in Western languages. The characters U+0033 and U+04E0 both look like the number "3", yet the second is actually a letter from the Cyrillic alphabet.

Note: This failure also applies to the use of character entities. It is the incorrect character used because of its glyph representation that comprises a failure, not the mechanism by which that character is implemented.


Failure Example 1: Characters

The following word looks, in browsers with appropriate font support, like the English word "cook", yet is composed of the string U+03f2 U+043E U+03BF U+006B, only one of which is a letter from the Western alphabet. This word will not be processed meaningfully, and a text alternative is not provided.

Example Code:


Failure Example 2: Character entities

The following example, like the one above, will look like the English word "cook" when rendered in browsers with appropriate font support. In this case, the characters are implemented with character entities, but the word will still not be processed meaningfully, and a text alternative is not provided.

Example Code:


Working Example: "ϲоοk"

(none currently listed)



  1. Check the characters or character entities used to represent text.

  2. If the characters used do not match the appropriate characters for the displayed glyphs in the human language of the content, then look-alike glyphs are being used.

Expected Results

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.