Guideline 3.1: Readable

Understanding Guideline: 

Make text content readable and understandable.

Intent of Guideline: 

The intent of this guideline is to allow text content to be read by users and by assistive technology, and to ensure that information necessary for understanding it is available.
People with disabilities experience text in many different ways. For some the experience is visual; for some it is auditory; for some it is tactile; for still others it is both visual and auditory. Some users experience great difficulty in recognizing written words yet understand extremely complex and sophisticated documents when the text is read aloud, or when key processes and ideas are illustrated visually or interpreted as sign language. For some users, it is difficult to infer the meaning of a word or phrase from context, especially when the word or phrase is used in an unusual way or has been given a specialized meaning; for these users the ability to read and understand may depend on the availability of specific definitions or the expanded forms of acronyms or abbreviations. User agents, including speech-enabled as well as graphical applications, may be unable to present text correctly unless the language and direction of the text are identified; while these may be minor problems for most users, they can be enormous barriers for users with disabilities. In cases where meaning cannot be determined without pronunciation information (for example, certain Japanese Kanji characters), pronunciation information must be available as wel