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:

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.

assistive technology

hardware and/or software that acts as a user agent, or along with a mainstream user agent, to provide functionality to meet the requirements of users with disabilities that go beyond those offered by mainstream user agents

Note

functionality provided by assistive technology includes alternative presentations (e.g., as synthesized speech or magnified content), alternative input methods (e.g., voice), additional navigation or orientation mechanisms, and content transformations (e.g., to make tables more accessible).

Note

Assistive technologies often communicate data and messages with mainstream user agents by using and monitoring APIs.

Note

The distinction between mainstream user agents and assistive technologies is not absolute. Many mainstream user agents provide some features to assist individuals with disabilities. The basic difference is that mainstream user agents target broad and diverse audiences that usually include people with and without disabilities. Assistive technologies target narrowly defined populations of users with specific disabilities. The assistance provided by an assistive technology is more specific and appropriate to the needs of its target users. The mainstream user agent may provide important functionality to assistive technologies like retrieving Web content from program objects or parsing markup into identifiable bundles.

Assistive technologies that are important in the context of this document include the following:

  • screen magnifiers, and other visual reading assistants, which are used by people with visual, perceptual and physical print disabilities to change text font, size, spacing, color, synchronization with speech, etc. in order to improve the visual readability of rendered text and images;
  • screen readers, which are used by people who are blind to read textual information through synthesized speech or braille;
  • text-to-speech software, which is used by some people with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities to convert text into synthetic speech;
  • speech recognition software, which may be used by people who have some physical disabilities;
  • alternative keyboards, which are used by people with certain physical disabilities to simulate the keyboard (including alternate keyboards that use head pointers, single switches, sip/puff and other special input devices.);
  • alternative pointing devices, which are used by people with certain physical disabilities to simulate mouse pointing and button activations.
conformance

satisfying all the requirements of a given standard, guideline or specification

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.

process

series of user actions where each action is required in order to complete an activity

Successful use of a series of Web pages on a shopping site requires users to view alternative products, prices and offers, select products, submit an order, provide shipping information and provide payment information.

An account registration page requires successful completion of a Turing test before the registration form can be accessed.

relied upon

the content would not conform if that technology is turned off or is not supported

technology

mechanism for encoding instructions to be rendered, played or executed by user agents

Note

As used in these guidelines "Web Technology" and the word "technology" (when used alone) both refer to Web Content Technologies.

Note

Web content technologies may include markup languages, data formats, or programming languages that authors may use alone or in combination to create end-user experiences that range from static Web pages to synchronized media presentations to dynamic Web applications.

Some common examples of Web content technologies include HTML, CSS, SVG, PNG, PDF, Flash, and JavaScript.

user agent

any software that retrieves and presents Web content for users

Web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs — including assistive technologies — that help in retrieving, rendering, and interacting with Web content.