Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G117: Using text to convey information that is conveyed by variations in presentation of text


Technologies that support variations in the visual presentation of text.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to ensure that information conveyed through variations in the formatting of text is conveyed in text as well. When the visual appearance of text is varied to convey information, state the information explicitly in the text. Variations in the visual appearance can be made by changes in font face, font size, underline, strike through and various other text attributes. When these types of variations convey information, that information needs to be available elsewhere in the content via text. Including additional sections in the document or an inline description where the variation in presentation of text occurs can be used to convey the information.


Example 1: Indicating new content with boldface and a text indicator

The following example shows a list of accessibility standards. WCAG 2.0 is new, so is indicated in bold face. To avoid conveying information solely by presentation, the word "(new)" is included after it as well.

Example Code:

              <h2>Web Accessibility Guidelines</h2>
                <li><strong>WCAG 2.0 (New)</strong></li>
                <li>WCAG 1.0</li>
                <li>Section 508</li>
                <li>JIS X 8341-3</li>

Example 2: Font variations and explicit statements.

An on-line document has gone through multiple drafts. Insertions are underlined and deletions are struck through. At the end of the draft a "change history" lists all changes made to each draft.

Example 3: Providing an alternate way to know which words in the text have been identified by using a different font.

An on-line test requires students to write a short summary of a longer document. The summary must contain certain words from the original document. When a sentence in the original document contains a word or phrase that must be used in the summary, the word or phrase is shown in a different font than the rest of the sentence. A separate section also lists all the words and phrases that must be used in the summary.


No resources available for this technique.



  1. Find items where variations in presentation of text are used to convey information.

  2. For those items, check to determine if information conveyed visually is also stated explicitly in text.

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.