Understanding Success Criterion 3.2.6: Findable Help

Success Criterion 3.2.6 Findable Help (Level A): For single page Web applications or any set of Web pages, if one of the following is available, then access to at least one option is included in the same relative order on each page:

Access to help mechanisms may be provided directly on the page, or may be provided via a direct link to a different page containing the information"

Status

This understanding document is part of the draft WCAG 2.2 content. It may change or be removed before the final WCAG 2.2 is published.

Intent

The intent of this success criterion is to ensure users can find help for completing tasks on a Web site. This is distinct from interface-level help, such as contextual help, features like spell checkers, and instructional text in a form.

Locating the help mechanism in a consistent location across pages makes it easier for users to find it. For example, when a mechanism or link is located in the header of a Web page, it will be presented in the header of all pages within the set of Web pages.

The location in a smaller viewport may be different than in a larger viewport but the mechanism or link will remain in the same location throughout the size. The location should remain consistent both visually and programmatically.

While it would be best for all sites to offer this type of help, the requirement is for:

and is actively supported.

When having problems completing a task on a Web site, people with some types of disabilities may not be able to work through the issue without further help. Issues could include difficulty: completing a form, or finding a document or page which provides information required to complete a task.

Without help, some users may abandon the task. They may also fail to correctly complete a task, or they may require assistance from people who do not necessarily keep private information secure.

Self help methods beyond the site, such as using internet search to find the contact information for an organization, can be too difficult. Further, the user’s disability may make it more difficult to find the help available (such as a “contact us” link, phone number, or support page) if the information is not present within a few interactions (e.g., displayed in the header, or via a menu). In addition, for some users with disabilities, struggling to complete a task on a site may cause additional cognitive challenges when searching for help within the site.

When a user is quickly able to find help, they are able to complete the task even if they encounter challenges.

At least one of the following mechanisms to get help should be included:

The human contact details should enable the user to connect with the organization or the part of the organization that can assist with the content. For example, an online jobs / recruitment portal should provide a contact method for the team that supports the recruitment portal and not a catch-all for the entire company. Each layer of contact added prolongs the time before the user will receive help.

The human contact mechanism enables a person to express what they are looking for using their own words. For some with cognitive disabilities, this may be the best way for them to find an answer to their problem.

For pages for which no human support is available, a self-help option should say that no human support is available. Self-help options should go beyond allowing the user to search within the site. Contextual help is still recommended (See SC 3.3.5 for more information) but a self-help option should provide a single location that makes it easier for people with cognitive disabilities to understand what help is available without having to hunt for it. While some people may easily be able to identify that no support would be available for a particular type of Web site, this may not be apparent to some users with disabilities.

If a chatbot is provided, it should meet other WCAG success criteria for your conformance level. Chatbots which work more effectively for everyone, and particularly for people with cognitive disabilities should:

It is not the intent of this Success Criterion to require authors to provide help information on PDFs or other static documents that may be available for viewing/download from the Web pages. It is also not the intent to require contact information if:

It is also not the intent of this Success Criterion to require a human be available at all times. If the human contact is not available during certain hours or certain days, information should be provided so the user can tell when it will be available.

Benefits

Examples

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

  1. G220: Provide a contact-us link

Failures

The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of this Success Criterion by the WCAG Working Group.

  • Inconsistent Help Location

Key Terms

same relative order

same position relative to other items

Note

Items are considered to be in the same relative order even if other items are inserted or removed from the original order. For example, expanding navigation menus may insert an additional level of detail or a secondary navigation section may be inserted into the reading order.

set of web pages

collection of web pages that share a common purpose and that are created by the same author, group or organization

Examples include a publication which is split across multiple Web pages, where each page contains one chapter or other significant section of the work. The publication is logically a single contiguous unit, and contains navigation features that enable access to the full set of pages.

Note

Different language versions would be considered different sets of Web pages.