Understanding Success Criterion 2.4.13: Fixed Reference Points

Success Criterion 2.4.13 Fixed Reference Points (Level A): When a web page or set of web pages is an electronic publication with pagebreak locators, a mechanism is available to navigate to each locator and each locator maintains its place in the flow of content, even when the formatting or platform change.


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.


The purpose of this success criterion is to allow users with disabilities to find references to content based on the page locators found in the default view or printed version of a publication.

The term “on the same page” is common in English to describe when two people are talking about the same thing and agree on the content of the conversation. This success criterion makes sure that all users can literally be on the same page.

Page numbering has long been a fundamental way to identify and communicate the location of written content. They are used constantly in references, footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies. Particularly, they are critical in academic and learning environments.

Electronic publishing has provided valuable access to content for people who are blind, have low vision, dyslexia or other cognitive disabilities. In order to consume the information the content may be adapted to use a different layout, or presented to them using assistive technology. If there is no clear way to find a specific page from the print version that was referenced by a professor in class, because the electronic version is zoomed-in and that paragraph is on page 145 of the user’s version of the content, the user misses out on valuable and sometimes critical information to understanding the reference.


The term “article” in the success criterion does not refer to the <article> tag in PDF or InDesign.




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. H99: Providing a Page List

Key Terms

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


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).


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


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.
electronic publication

Content presented as a collection of related articles, document in the form of a book, textbook, magazine article, journal, a single journal article that is presented as having different pages, scholarly journal, or newspaper article in digital format.

pagebreak locators

Visual and/or programmatic markers that are arranged in a meaningful sequence to determine the location of a page in relation to others in the set.

Examples would be:

  • Corresponding pages between a print book and a digital version of the same publication. (A digital pixel precise manifestation of the published print version)
  • Page numbering in the print version of an ebook
  • Page numbering in an electronic version of the ebook
  • A digital book is published is with no print equivalent and page break locators are inserted which supports direct navigation across platforms and form factors.
  • Virtual page
  • Synchronizing reading people with different form factors and platforms, screen sizes, can be on the same page.
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.


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

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.

web page

a non-embedded resource obtained from a single URI using HTTP plus any other resources that are used in the rendering or intended to be rendered together with it by a user agent


Although any "other resources" would be rendered together with the primary resource, they would not necessarily be rendered simultaneously with each other.


For the purposes of conformance with these guidelines, a resource must be "non-embedded" within the scope of conformance to be considered a Web page.

A Web resource including all embedded images and media.

A Web mail program built using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). The program lives entirely at http://example.com/mail, but includes an inbox, a contacts area and a calendar. Links or buttons are provided that cause the inbox, contacts, or calendar to display, but do not change the URI of the page as a whole.

A customizable portal site, where users can choose content to display from a set of different content modules.

When you enter "http://shopping.example.com/" in your browser, you enter a movie-like interactive shopping environment where you visually move around in a store dragging products off of the shelves around you and into a visual shopping cart in front of you. Clicking on a product causes it to be demonstrated with a specification sheet floating alongside. This might be a single-page Web site or just one page within a Web site.