Sensory Characteristics

Online content has sensory characteristics, including shape, sound, positioning, orientation, color, and size.

Users should not have to rely on sensory characteristics to understand or interact with content. Information conveyed by sensory characteristics cannot be perceived by users who are blind, deaf or hard of hearing or have low vision or cognitive disabilities.

Instructions for users often break this accessibility requirement. For example, the instruction to "Click the green button on the right" might not be helpful for users. Some users might not be able to see green or to understand what "right" is. On mobile devices, the button might not appear in the same position. 

Best Practices

  • Do not rely only on sensory characteristics to tell users how to consume or interact with content.
  • If a sensory characteristic draws attention to content, provide multiple ways to understand it. Preferably, add a text equivalent.

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