Priority and Severity

It may not be practical to fix all issues or defects right away, test the fixes, and implement them. For this reason, assign a Severity and Priority to each issue to determine the order issues will be fixed in.  


The accessibility consultant, or the person doing the testing, should assign severity to each issue. The severity indicates how the issue could impact users.

Here’s an example of a severity scale:

  • S-1 Critical – Users with some disabilities cannot use any part of a system or website. An immediate fix is needed.
  • S-2 High – Users with some disabilities will find it challenging to use the system or website. Some incorrect results are encountered which could significantly impact proper operation. An immediate fix is highly recommended.
  • S-3 Medium – Users can proceed with limited functionality. They might encounter an issue within a particular feature or workflow, but there is a straightforward workaround that exists.
  • S-4 Low – A minor issue that will not affect the operation or usability of the system. This may include minor usability issues or functional deviations that can be avoided.


The Priority should be related to the Severity, and assigned by the product owner, or website manager. In contrast to the Severity, which describes the issue in isolation, setting the Priority also considers the context of all the issues and how quickly the issues could be fixed. For example, there may be more S-1 Critical issues identified than can be reasonably fixed in a set amount of time (e.g., a sprint). The product owner may prioritize some S-1 Critical issues over others based on IT capacity and feedback from leadership.

Here’s an example of a Priority scale that mirrors the Severity scale above:

  • P-1 Critical
  • P-2 High
  • P-3 Medium
  • P-4 Low

Use your judgment

Ultimately, it is up to you to use your best judgement to assign severity and priority to each issue, based on how users will be impacted and how important each feature is.



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