Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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H87: Not interfering with the user agent's reflow of text as the viewing window is narrowed



This technique relates to:


This technique helps avoid situations where horizontal scrolling may occur. Many people with cognitive disabilities and low vision users who do not use assistive technology have a great deal of trouble with blocks of text that require horizontal scrolling. It involves not interfering with the reflow of text if the window is narrowed. One of the best ways to do this is to define widths of text block containers in percentages.

HTML and XHTML user agents automatically reflow text as the browser window is narrowed as long as the author does not specify widths using absolute measurements such as pixels or points.


Example 1

A newspaper site includes articles with columns that adjust with the user agents window width. Users with cognitive disabilities can narrow the column to a width that makes it easier to read.


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  1. Open the content that contains a block of text in a common browser.

  2. Narrow the viewing window to 1/4 of the screen width.

  3. Check to see that the content does not require horizontal scrolling to read a line of 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.