Understanding Success Criterion 3.1.4: Abbreviations

Success Criterion 3.1.4 Abbreviations (Level AAA): A mechanism for identifying the expanded form or meaning of abbreviations is available.

Intent

The intent of this Success Criterion is to ensure that users can access the expanded form of abbreviations.

Benefits

This Success Criterion may help people who:

Abbreviations may confuse some readers in different ways:

It would also help people with visual disabilities who:

Examples

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

Techniques

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section.

Sufficient Techniques

Select the situation below that matches your content. Each situation includes techniques or combinations of techniques that are known and documented to be sufficient for that situation.

Situation A: If the abbreviation has only one meaning within the Web page:

  1. G102: Providing the expansion or explanation of an abbreviation for the first occurrence of the abbreviation in a Web page using one of the following techniques:

  2. G102: Providing the expansion or explanation of an abbreviation for all occurrences of the abbreviation in a Web page using one of the following techniques:

Situation B: If the abbreviation means different things within the same Web page:

  1. G102: Providing the expansion or explanation of an abbreviation for all occurrences of abbreviations in a Web page using one of the following techniques:

Advisory Techniques

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

Failures

The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of this Success Criterion by the WCAG Working Group.

Key Terms

abbreviation

shortened form of a word, phrase, or name where the abbreviation has not become part of the language

Note

This includes initialisms and acronyms where:

  1. initialisms are shortened forms of a name or phrase made from the initial letters of words or syllables contained in that name or phrase

    Note

    Not defined in all languages.

    SNCF is a French initialism that contains the initial letters of the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer, the French national railroad.

    ESP is an initialism for extrasensory perception.

  2. acronyms are abbreviated forms made from the initial letters or parts of other words (in a name or phrase) which may be pronounced as a word

    NOAA is an acronym made from the initial letters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States.

Note

Some companies have adopted what used to be an initialism as their company name. In these cases, the new name of the company is the letters (for example, Ecma) and the word is no longer considered an abbreviation.

mechanism

process or technique for achieving a result

Note

The mechanism may be explicitly provided in the content, or may be relied upon to be provided by either the platform or by user agents, including assistive technologies.

Note

The mechanism needs to meet all success criteria for the conformance level claimed.