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Understanding SC 3.3.5: Help (Level AAA)

In Brief

Users can avoid making mistakes.
What to do
Provide help to users on the function currently being performed.
Why it's important
People with cognitive or other disabilities can complete their tasks more easily.

Success Criterion (SC)

Context-sensitive help is available.


The intent of this Success Criterion is to help users avoid making mistakes. Some users with disabilities may be more likely to make mistakes than users without disabilities. Using context-sensitive help, users find out how to perform an operation without losing track of what they are doing.

Context-sensitive help only needs to be provided when the label is not sufficient to describe all functionality. The existence of context-sensitive help should be obvious to the user and they should be able to obtain it whenever they require it.

The content author may provide the help text, or the user agent may provide the help text based on technology-specific, programmatically determined information.


  • Assistance for text input helps individuals with writing disabilities and people with reading and intellectual disabilities who often have difficulty writing text in forms or other places that need text input.
  • Additionally, these kinds of assistance help people who are aging and have the same difficulty in text input and/or mouse operation.


on-line job application
Some of the questions may be hard for new job seekers to understand. A help link next to each question provides instructions and explanations for each question.


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 a form requires text input:

Situation B: If a form requires text input in an expected data format:

Advisory Techniques

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

Key Terms

context-sensitive help

help text that provides information related to the function currently being performed


Clear labels can act as context-sensitive help.

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