Deviating From Standards

It is important to think beyond specific guidelines in website design. Ultimately what matters more than the guidelines is the user experience. For that reason, there may be occasional exceptions to the guidelines. Here are a few examples where WCAG Success Criteria (SC) can be flexible to put the user experience first:

1.3.4: Orientation

This SC states that a mobile app or web page should display either portrait or landscape orientation. An exception is if the content would not be understood as a result, for example, a cheque deposit function, a Virtual Reality (VR) goggles app, or a piano app. All of these require a landscape orientation exclusively.

1.4.3: Contrast (Minimum)

This SC states that text and icons must meet a given colour contrast requirement. Company logos, however, are exempt for this requirement.

1.4.5 Images of Text

Use text rather than images of text. Logos are exempt from this requirement.

2.4.3: Focus Order

When a user tabs through the clickable elements on a page, the focus order should go from top-to-bottom, left-to-right. In some cases, an experience can be improved by adjusting this guideline.

For example, when a primary button (“Continue”) is on the right side (for usability), and the secondary button (“Cancel”) is on the left side. In this case, the “Continue” button should be reached before the “Cancel” button.

Additional context to help screen reader users

On-screen text is the best way to label buttons; however, an aria-label is acceptable if the button is recognizable. Be sure to label the icon concisely, for example, “print” rather than “print button.”



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