Error Handling

From Silver


  • Specify accessible approaches to avoiding errors, and helping users recover from errors when they do occur.
  • Take the current WCAG SCs that relate to error handling and bring them together, and add in new ones to further expand the coverage of this important facet of user interaction and user experience for people with disabilities.

Project Scope

Project Definition


The primary purpose of the Errors Sub-Group is to define guidelines related to errors and create content to support them using the WCAG 3 framework. Based on a defensive design philosophy, our focus is on building an interface that helps people avoid errors, creating systems that prevent and fix errors, and in the worst case, helping people recover when they experience an error.


The following are goals for the Errors Sub-Group, in priority order:

  • Provide a clearly defined and delineated scope for error-related accessibility guidelines.
  • Provide error-related guidelines that support accessibility.
  • Help people learn about accessibility and practices for accessible errors.
  • Provide resources (e.g., examples) to implement accessible errors.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the proposed WCAG 3 structure.

Target Audience

The following lists the target audience of the output of the Errors Sub-Group, in priority order:

  • WCAG 3 consumers
  • Silver Taskforce
  • Accessibility Guidelines Working Group

Indicators of Success

The following are changes that will occur if we are successful in achieving our purpose and goals for our target audience (Note: The exercise of listing indicators of success in the project charter context is to help illuminate project goals. Indicators of success may not be measurable, and may not correlate directly to the work of the Errors Sub-Group).

  • Fewer and more readily resolved discussions about what is in scope and out of scope
  • Fewer queries coming back from AGWG
  • Comprehensive content related to error management in WCAG 3 (code, how to implement, etc)
  • Approval of proposal by Silver Taskforce
  • Approval of proposal by AGWG
  • WCAG 3 becomes Recommendation
  • Improved accessibility in error management
  • Confidence in designers and developers that they are implementing accessible errors

Scope of Errors-Related Guidelines

Listed in priority order from a user experience perspective, based on defensive design philosophy, building an interface that helps people avoid errors, creating systems that prevent and fix errors, and in the worst case, helping people recover when they experience an error:

  • Avoid: Help users avoid errors (e.g., labeling, instructions)
  • Prevent: Prevent errors from occurring (e.g., interface won't let you do the wrong thing)
  • Fix: Forgive and adapt errors (considerations: guidelines for security)
  • Correct: Help users correct errors (e.g., notifications)



Working Documents


WCAG 3 / Silver Process



Active Participants Q1 2022

  • Jake Abma
  • Sarah Horton
  • JaEun Jemma Ku
  • Todd Libby
  • Aparna Pasi
  • Glenna Winters

Other Participants

  • Tim Boland
  • Sukriti Chadha
  • Sheri Byrne Haber
  • Charles Hall
  • Dean Hamack
  • Stacey Lumley
  • Christian Perera
  • Shannon Urban

Former Participants

  • Suzanne Taylor

Meeting Details

  • As of 29 September 2021: Meetings paused until Mid-late 2023
  • Meetings: Wednesdays at 10am Eastern Time
  • Conference Call Info
  • W3C web IRC IRC channel: #silver-errors

Meeting Procedures

IRC Instructions

/invite zakim #silver-errors

zakim, start meeting

rrsagent, make logs public

You will see a message "Please title this meeting". Paste in the following (adjust as needed):

Meeting: Silver Errors Subgroup


chair: sarahhorton


zakim, clear agenda

rrsagent, make minutes

agenda+ [agenda item text]

scribe: [name]

zakim, next item

You can just use this command to make the minutes and let the rest of the bots time out automatically. This way you can go back in and make corrections if needed.

rrsagent, make minutes

Alternatively, you can use this to end the meeting and make the minutes, but be sure you have finished adding everyone and the minutes are ok before you use it. There is no undo.

zakim, end meeting

Meeting Notes