Accessibility principles

Our guidelines for accessibility are driven by four principles. They spell out the acronym POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust)

Perceivable

All our users need to be able to process what’s on the screen. Is there anything in our product or on our site that a blind, deaf, low-vision, or color-blind user can’t perceive?

Make content perceivable



Make sure videos have captions.

Don’t refer to color, or where elements are on a screen.

Include meaningful alt text for images, icons, and controls.

If the text is meant to be read, don’t put it in an image.

When a label is used multiple times on the same screen (Edit, Learn, More), provide screen-reader-only text to clarify.

Create text alternatives for charts and graphs. A cool way to do this is to include a data table near the chart.

Color and contrast



Check your contrast. Is there enough between foreground text and background color?

Don’t use color alone to indicate status (such as on/off or paid/unpaid).

Linked text should stand out from body text.

Include icons with text to make things clear.

Focus indicators should be visible on fields and all interactions.

Typography

Font face, size, and weight are all elements to consider when designing for readability and legibility. Some low-vision people use screen magnifiers or zoom in to enlarge text and make things easier to read.

Operable

Make sure interactions and targets are well separated and easy to hit. Keep screens feeling “light”—don’t make them overly dense. Be aware of how longer content can appear on a screen.

Touch targets should be visually identifiable, especially on mobile screens. Is it clear what to do next?

Make forms accessible

  • Make sure field labels persist and are visible when the focus is inside the field.
  • Labels, tooltips, and input fields should appear in a logical keyboarding tab order.
  • Be aware of when the system validates the fields and when and where error messages might appear.
  • Present errors clearly. Use an element in addition to color and guide users to the field that needs their attention.

Understandable

Make content readable

  • Keep content clear and easy to read—and listen to. Remember that when someone is using a screen reader, the content is spoken aloud.
  • Present only the info users need, and only when they need it.
  • Keep sentences simple. Aim for 5th to 8th grade readability.
  • Use images to support copy. Illustrations and graphs can clarify complex concepts.

Information hierarchy and layout

  • Make page titles unique and informative.
  • Keep heading styles consistent. Use typography and styles to provide meaning and structure.
  • Make sure the correct HTML is used (H1, H2, etc.) so that screen readers can easily interact with the page structure. (Search engines also use these to analyze your content.)
  • Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make content easy to scan.

Robust

Make sure things work well across platforms, browsers, and devices—different assistive technologies work better in some areas than others.



  • Select all that apply.

Try to be platform agnostic.

  • Tap all that apply.
  • Click all that apply.

Don’t dictate the technologies a customer has to use.

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