Providing a Table of Contents

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 2.4.5: Multiple Ways (Sufficient as a way to meet an unwritten technique).

Description

This is one of a series of techniques for locating content that are sufficient for addressing Success Criterion 2.4.5. A table of contents provides links to sections and subsections of the same document. The information in the document is usually organized hierarchically, and is intended to be read sequentially. Just as there could be many books in a library, each with its own table of contents, a Web site may contain many documents, each with its own table of contents.

The table of contents serves two purposes:

The table of contents typically includes only major sections of the document, though in some cases an expanded table of contents that provides a more detailed view of a complex document may be desirable.

The sections of the document could be located on the same Web page or divided into multiple Web pages. A table of contents is particularly useful when a document is divided into multiple Web pages.

There is a distinction between a table of contents and other Navigational elements such as a Navigation Bar or Site Map. A table of contents provides links to sections of the same document. Those sections could be located on the same Web page or spread across multiple Web pages. But together, they make a complete idea. To better understand this, consider a hard copy book which has sections. Each section belongs to the book. There could be many books in a library. In this example, the "library" is the entire Web site.

Examples

Example 1

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 contains a table of contents that is a hierarchical list of links to the sections and subsections of the document. The hierarchy of the table of contents reflects the organization of the sections, and each item in the table of contents is a link that takes the user directly to that section.

Example 2

The table of contents for Accessing PDF Documents with Assistive Technology: A Screen Reader User's Guide begins on the second page.

Tests

Procedure

  1. Check that a table of contents or a link to a table of contents exists in the document.
  2. Check that the values and order of the entries in the table of contents correspond to the names and order of the sections of the document.
  3. Check that the entries in the table of contents link to the correct sections of the document.

Expected Results

  • All checks above are true.