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Web Accessibility Guidelines for Designing Text Users Can Reformat

Under the Information and Communications Standards of the AODA, organizations must make their websites and web-based apps accessible. Organizations must do so by making their websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. This international standard gives web developers guidelines on how to make their webpages accessible to computer users with disabilities. However, updates to the Information and Communications Standards could require organizations to comply with more recent versions of WCAG. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released an improved version of these guidelines, version 2.1, in 2018. Moreover, the W3C will release WCAG version 2.2 in September 2022. This article outlines WCAG 2.1’s web accessibility guidelines for designing text users can reformat.

Web Accessibility Guidelines for Designing Text Users Can Reformat

Web designers should arrange websites and apps so that users only need to scroll in one (1) direction. Some websites require users to scroll both vertically and horizontally. However, not all users can scroll in both directions. For example, users who enlarge a website need to read its text in one (1) column. Therefore, when they enlarge text to four hundred percent (400%), the text should reflow to fit the width of the window. In other words, text should display in one (1) column. Although the layout of information may change, Information should not be hidden or missing when users enlarge text.

However, websites may require both vertical and horizontal scrolling if viewing content in a certain layout is essential. For example, content that should not reflow when enlarged includes:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Tables
  • Interfaces with toolbars to edit content


Similarly, all text should remain visible when users change formatting to increase the space between:

  • Letters
  • Words
  • Lines
  • Paragraphs

Advanced Requirements

The WCAG webpage provides the full list of requirements, as well as technical guidance on how to implement them. The AODA only requires websites to follow guidelines in version 2.0, level AA. However, the WCAG webpage provides guidelines at level AAA. While websites do not need to follow these guidelines, they can choose to follow them as a best practice. Websites that follow more guidelines have the chance to welcome more visitors and do more online business.