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Technique G204:Not interfering with the user agent's reflow of text as the viewing window is narrowed

About this Technique

This technique relates to 1.4.8: Visual Presentation (Sufficient).

This technique applies to all technologies.


This technique helps avoid situations where horizontal scrolling may occur. Many people with cognitive disabilities and low vision users who do not use assistive technology have a great deal of trouble with blocks of text that require horizontal scrolling. It involves not interfering with the reflow of text if the window is narrowed. One of the best ways to do this is to define widths of text block containers in percentages.

HTML and XHTML user agents automatically reflow text as the browser window is narrowed as long as the author does not specify widths using absolute measurements such as pixels or points.


Example 1

A newspaper site includes articles with columns that adjust with the user agents window width. Users with cognitive disabilities can narrow the column to a width that makes it easier to read.

Related Resources

No endorsement implied.



  1. Open the content that contains a block of text in a common user agent.
  2. Check to see if the user agent has a setting that needs to be enabled to allow for reflow, and if so, enable it.
  3. Narrow the viewing window to 1/4 of the screen width.
  4. Check to see that the content does not require horizontal scrolling to read a line of text.

Expected Results

  • Check #4 is true.
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