1.3.1: Info and Relationships
Info and Relationships is a Level A success criterion and states that information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text.
The intent of this success criterion is to ensure that information and the structure of the content of the website or application are maintained when the presentation format changes, for example when someone uses assistive technology to access a site.
Sighted users can perceive the typical cues used to understand information and structure like headings, list items, tables, form fields etc. For them, cues are easily identified: headings are often in a larger, bold font separated from paragraphs, list items are preceded by bullet points, form fields have text labels positioned next to them, special words can have different fonts or colours, and so on. However, people with vision impairments or other disabilities may not be able to perceive those cues when using assistive technology to access digital content. Therefore these cues need to be programmatically determined or available in text so they can be perceived by everyone.
Let’s take for example text that says, ‘Chapter 1: Introduction to Programming’. This text is bolded and some other text is displayed underneath it. For sighted users, this is easily understood to be a heading, but for someone using a screen reader, the text must be coded as a heading for them to perceive it in the same way. In the case that a cue can’t be programmatically determined, a text description of the information and structure should exist. For this, we can take as an example the text ‘all required fields are marked with an asterisk’ displayed at the beginning of a form.
If visual or auditory cues can be represented both ways, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommends that information and relationships to be programmatically determined rather than described in text.
As part of our consultations, accessibility audits, and training sessions, we can explain all the contextual nuances that would apply to the WCAG 2.1 Success Criterion 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. If you have any questions or need help with any digital accessibility issue, please don’t hesitate to contact IA Labs.