WCAG 1.3.3 Instructions Involve More Than One Sense

Write clear instructions that incorporate multiple senses. No instructions should rely solely on the ability to perceive shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound.

What to do?

  • Be deliberate and purposeful when writing instructions on your website
  • Attempt to include a text reference (e.g. “subscribe button”) with everyinstructions

Remember that some people will not:

  • Be able to tell what shape an object is
  • Be able to perceive an object is positioned o Be able to hear an audible indicator


Plain English Explanation

The main point here is to incorporate multiple ways to perceive instructions. I think a best practice is to label things with text and include a reference to that text.

Here are some good and bad examples of sensory instructions.

Bad examples

Click on the button to your right to go to the next page.

You can search for additional information using the search bar at the bottom. Click on the rectangle button to subscribe.

Good examples

Click on the green button labeled “next page” slightly below and to the right of this text.

Use the rectangle search bar on the bottom left of this page inside the footer area to search for additional information.

Click on the blue rectangle button marked “subscribe” directly below this line to subscribe.

Note that not all instructions will take the form of direct statements. WCAG uses the example of a data table and providing both a specific background color and icon shape to provide information.