According to the World Wide Web Consortium, the intent of Web Content Accessibility Guideline 3.1 is to allow text content to be read and understood by users. This guideline has six success criteria that must be followed, with one at Level A, one at Level AA, and the other four at Level AAA.
The first and most basic criterion is 3.1.1 Language of Page. This states the language of each web page should be provided by web developers. Developers are able to set the default language for an entire website when creating it.
The next criterion, 3.1.2 Language of Parts, is similar: each passage or phrase on a webpage should have a programmatically determined language, if this language is different from the rest of the website. This makes it possible for user agents and assistive technologies to present content according to a language’s specific presentation and pronunciation rules. In addition, text can be rendered more accurately if the language of each passage of text is identified.
Both criteria are helpful for people who use screen readers or other technologies that convert text into synthetic speech, people who rely on captions for synchronised media such as videos, and people with certain cognitive, language, or learning disabilities who may use text-to-speech software.
People with disabilities may find it difficult to understand some word usage, including figurative language or specialised jargon. Because of this, 3.1.3 Unusual Words is a vital criterion that states a mechanism should be available to identify definitions of specific words or phrases. Similarly, 3.1.4 Abbreviations ensures that users can access the expanded form of abbreviations. This can especially help people who have difficulty decoding words or have limited memory.
3.1.5 Reading Level states that additional content or an alternate version is available for text that requires a more advanced reading ability than lower secondary education level to be understood. This may help people who have difficulty comprehending and interpreting written language.
According to 3.1.6 Pronunciation, a mechanism is available to identify the pronunciation of specific words if the pronunciation is necessary to understand them. For example, names displayed using Japanese or Chinese characters can be followed by their pronunciations in parentheses.
As users absorb and take in information in different ways such as visual, auditory, tactile, or a combination of any of the above, they may face difficulties understanding something because of the way website owners choose to present information. We must make sure that we follow the WCAG because they help not only people with disabilities but all users to understand information. By following the success criteria outlined in Guideline 3.1, you allow all your website visitors to access and read your content.
How can IA Labs help?
As part of our consultations, accessibility audits, and training sessions, we can explain all the contextual nuances that would apply to the success criteria from Guideline 3.1 Readable. If you have any questions or need help with any digital accessibility issue, please don’t hesitate to contact IA Labs.