Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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H28: Providing definitions for abbreviations by using the abbr element

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.0 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.0.



This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support Notes for H28.


The objective of this technique is to provide expansions or definitions for abbreviations by using the abbr element

It is always appropriate to use the abbr element for any abbreviation, including acronyms and initialisms. When using HTML and XHTML, initialisms and acronyms may be marked up using the acronym element. Versions of HTML after HTML 4 eliminate the acronym element in favor of the more general abbr element.


Example 1: Using abbr element to expand abbreviations.

Example Code:

<p>Sugar is commonly sold in 5 <abbr title="pound">lb.<abbr> bags.</p>
<p>Welcome to the <abbr title="World Wide Web">WWW</abbr>!</p>              

Example 2: Using abbr element to define abbreviations.

Example Code:

<p>Tasini <abbr title="and others">et al.</abbr> <abbr title="versus">v.</abbr>
The New York Times <abbr title="and others">et al.</abbr> is the landmark lawsuit 
brought by members of the National Writers Union against ......</p>  

Example 3: Using the abbr element to expand an acronym

Example Code:

 <p>The use of <abbr title="Keep It Simple Stupid">KISS</abbr> became popular in ...</p>        

Example 4: Using the abbr element to expand an initialism

Example Code:

 <p><abbr title="World Wide Web">WWW</abbr></p>


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  1. Check that an expansion or definition is provided for each abbreviation via abbr.

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.