Understanding Success Criterion 3.2.4: Consistent Identification

Provide a consistent way to identify components, icons, or other non-text items having the same functionality across the site for easy identification.

Provide a consistent way to identify components, icons, or other non-text items having the same functionality across the site for easy identification.

Official Requirements

Success Criterion 3.2.4 Consistent Identification (Level AA): Components that have the same functionality within a set of Web pages are identified consistently.

Why is it required?

Screen reader users usually rely heavily on familiar functions that repeatedly appear on different Web pages. However, when identical functions have different labels it is considerably hard to navigate the website. It also becomes ambiguous and may increase the load for people with cognitive limitations. Therefore, maintaining consistent labeling will help users with disabilities use the site easily. 

Note: This success criterion is also extended to text alternatives. Therefore, icons or other non-text items having the same functionality should be backed by consistent text alternatives.

How do we fix it?

  • Make sure that the links leading to the same destination or resource should have the same link text. 
  • Repeatedly used icons and images having the same function should have the same labels and alt-text.  For example: if the ‘search button’ is labeled as search on a web page then should be labeled as search on all web pages.
  • Icons with similar functions should have consistent labels.
  • Similar icons or images serving different purposes in different contexts should have different alt-text

Mistakes to avoid

Using two different labels for components having the same function

Picture of Aditya Bikkani

Aditya Bikkani

Aditya is the COO of AELData, a growing technology company in the Digital Publishing and Education sectors. He is also an entrepreneur and founder of an accessibility tool called LERA. A W3C COGA (Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility) Community Member Aditya contributes to researching methodologies to improve web accessibility and usability for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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