Understanding Success Criterion 3.3.5: Help

Success Criterion 3.3.5 Help (Level AAA): 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.



Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.


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:

  1. Providing a help link on every Web page
  2. Providing help by an assistant in the Web page
  3. Providing spell checking and suggestions for text input if applicable to the language
  4. Providing text instructions at the beginning of a form or set of fields that describes the necessary input

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

  1. Providing expected data format and example
  2. Providing text instructions at the beginning of a form or set of fields that describes the necessary input

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.


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

Key Terms