Understanding Success Criterion 3.2.7: Hidden Controls

Success Criterion 3.2.7 Hidden Controls (Level AA): Controls needed to progress or complete a process are visible at the time they are needed without requiring pointer hover or keyboard focus, or a mechanism is available to make them persistently visible.


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 intent of this Success Criterion is to ensure that controls needed to progress or complete a process can be easily found by people with cognitive disabilities when they are needed.

People with low executive function, impaired memory, and other cognitive and learning disabilities may not be able to find controls needed to progress if they are hidden until focus is placed on them or a pointer hovers over them. They may also not remember where the control is the next time they interact with the site.

Some design approaches hide controls needed to complete tasks and require certain user interactions, such as mouse-over, to display these controls. These required interactions can leave users with cognitive disabilities without a path forward.

Controls should be visible without user interaction (i.e., persistently visible) when they are needed to progress. In multistep processes or multipart forms, the control may be hidden in an earlier step/part, however, at the time the user can move forward the control needs to be persistently visible without having interacted with the control. Similarly, this SC does not require inactive controls to be persistently visible until the user is able to progress. For example, when a form includes required fields be completed before the submit button becomes active, the submit button does not need to be persistently visible while it is inactive.

When multiple controls are included in a single location, some indication of those controls such as a drop down indicator should be visible without user interaction.

In some cases, controls are provided in multiple locations on a page or at multiple points within a process. In these cases, at least one of the instances of the controls needs to be visible without user interaction. For example, in an email process, some controls such as trash may be visible using pointer hover in the list of emails but are always visible on the view of the email itself. Because the controls are persistently visible when needed on the email view, they do not need to persistently visible on the list of emails.

The intent of this SC is to help individuals with cognitive and learning disabilities locate controls they need to successfully complete their desired task. The controls addressed in this SC should also meet the SC for sufficient text (1.4.3/1.4.6) and non-text (1.4.11) contrast.

Controls such as video players, web chats, and carousels include controls that are only visible on hover since they overlay the contents being displayed. These controls are not considered a process in terms of this SC but occasionally completing a process requires interacting with one of these controls. For example, completing training may require the user watch a video before proceeding to the next step. In this case, a control needed to play the video needs to be visibly persistent. This may be accomplished by making the video controls all visibly persist or by adding a redundant play control to the page.




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. Provide persistently visible controls
  2. Use simplification=”important” to indicate the control is important (future)

Key Terms


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.