Crawford Design



Using clear and simple language promotes effective communication. In particular, it helps people with cognitive disabilities or who have difficulty reading and people whose first language differs from your own, including people who communicate primarily in sign language.

Provide the definition of a word or phrase used in an unusual or restricted way for the first occurrence of the word or phrase in a Web page. This can be done by linking to a glossary, a definition list (dl) or by using the dfn element to identify the defining instance of a word.

If complex words are used provide a way to show how the words are pronounced.


For an ideal user experience be sure to use the following text guidelines:

  1. Width is no more than 80 characters or glyphs (40 if CJK).
  2. Text is not justified (aligned to both the left and the right margins).
  3. Line spacing (leading) is at least a space-and-a-half within paragraphs, and paragraph spacing is at least 1.5 times larger than the line spacing.
  4. Text can be resized without assistive technology up to 200 percent in a way that does not require the user to scroll horizontally to read a line of text on a full-screen window.

Consistent Labels

If there are different labels on user interface components (i.e., elements, links, JavaScript objects, etc.) that have the same function, users will not know that they have encountered a component with the same function and will not know what to expect. This could lead to many unnecessary errors. Therefore, consistent labelling should be applied across the Web site.

Examples of Consistent Labels:


Heading elements (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6) allow user agents to automatically identify section headings. To facilitate navigation and understanding of overall document structure, authors should use headings that are properly nested (e.g., h1 followed by h2, h2 followed by h2 or h3, h3 followed by h3 or h4, etc.).

Image Text

Logotype names (text that is part of a logo or brand name image) should be conveyed through alt text or by using the image replacement technique.

Scrolling Text

Provide a mechanism to allow users to display moving, scrolling, or auto-updating text in a static window or area.