Chapter 23: Sensory Characteristics

Instructions, prompts, responses and indicating actions on web pages do not solely rely up on sensory characteristics of a person. Seeing, hearing, locating, feeling are considered as sensory characteristics. Individuals with disabilities may have problems with any of these sensory functions. They cannot rely on one or more of their sensory organs.

A blind user may have difficulty in understanding a button on the page is just grayed out to indicate that is no more functional. An arrow pointing down for a link may indicate that it has sub menu. Similarly an instruction says “input your password after hearing a click sound.

A person who experiences hard of hearing may not be able to perceive this information.

Check for the content on the page that has shape, size, sound, visual location or  orientation as the only means of conveying some information, indicating an action, prompting for a response.  If no alternate methods either in text or programmatic is not provided it is an accessibility violation.

Validation for sensory characteristics.

  1. Open the page on a browser.
  2. Read through all the content and locate for any information that is sensory dependent.
  3. Verify if an textual alternate or programmatic alternate is provided if such information is available.
  4. Also navigate such content with screen reader to confirm that the information is conveyed programmatically or by other off screen techniques.
  5. If sensory way is the only mechanism, it is an accessibility violation, else the success criterian is pass.

WCAG success criteria

1.3.3 Sensory characteristics(Level AA)

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