Failure of Success Criterion 1.3.3 due to using a graphical symbol alone to convey information

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 2.1 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 2.1.

Applicability

All technologies.

This technique relates to Success Criterion 1.3.3: Sensory Characteristics (Failure).

Description

The objective of this technique is to show how using a graphical symbol to convey information can make content difficult to comprehend. A graphical symbol may be an image, an image of text or a pictorial or decorative character symbol (glyph) which imparts information nonverbally. Examples of graphical symbols include an image of a red circle with a line through it, a "smiley" face, or a glyph which represents a check mark, arrow, or other symbol but is not the character with that meaning.

Assistive technology users may have difficulty determining the meaning of the graphical symbol. If a graphical symbol is used to convey information, provide an alternative using features of the technology or use a different mechanism that can be marked with an alternative to represent the graphical symbol. For example, an image with a text alternative can be used instead of the glyph.

Examples

Example 1: Glyphs Used to Indicate Status

A shopping cart uses two simple glyphs to indicate whether an item is available for immediate shipment. A circle indicates that the item is in stock and ready to ship. An square indicates that the item is currently on back order and not available for immediate shipment. The instructions above items refer to the circle and square as the sole means to differentiating whether an item is available.

Tests

Procedure

For each instuction that refers to non-text marks that convey information:

  1. Check whether there are other means to determine the information conveyed by the non-text marks.

Expected Results

  • If #1 is false, then this failure condition applies and the content fails this Success Criterion.