WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: WCAG 1.4.4 Resizing Text and Zoom


From: Mallory
Date: Nov 18, 2021 4:10AM

you've run into the difference between WCAG and accessibility.

I set my screen resolution low to better see things (but I do this in
combination with browser zoom), and I'll notice for example even
Microsoft programs will cut off content (I have to reset my screen
rez to the highest level and then turn on the Magnifier to use the
program). The Diagnostic Toolkit is a recent example, and it was
incredibly frustrating to not be able to use it like everyone else,
especially since it was required for what I was doing.

When testing *as an auditor*, I would pass webby stuff that worked
with browser zoom. The SC is lightweight.

I would also test with Firefox's Text Only zoom, mostly just to see
what I'd get (and because this often meshed well with the Text
Spacing SC, to be honest), but could not fail a site that bombed
with Text-Only zoom. Some clients appreciated a note about it.

When testing some webby edumacational things which also had
installed application aspects, I'd always be launching these with
my low resolution and if application windows were cut off I'd
mark it a fail (can't be failed under WCAG as applications are not
web but there are a lot of hybrids out there wanting to be
audited "for accessibility"... which is what you are doing). This
because the end result is the product is simply not usable and
because we know that windowing systems are capable of
adjusting so that content is not cut off or unreachable. But again,
this is an accessibility-audit fail and not a WCAG fail.

You will likely have to
- pass the thing you're testing, as far as the SC goes
- check the other common text-enlarging methods such as
lower screen rez, higher OS font settings and does it make visual
sense with a magnifier... but you're doing this to see how well
your stuff works for real people, not for whether it passes a

> And yet … Many (most?) people with vision disabilities do set their
> font size larger at the system level and do not use browser zoom, even
> when it is available. So even if browser-delivered content could be
> zoomed is it appropriate to require users to do so where rescaling font
> size fails to keep all content available? It could certainly be argued
> that the spirit of 1.4.4 is not respected for users chancing upon pages
> where their normally rescaled text suddenly is illegible, and an
> additional action is required of them. On mobile devices some users
> will have great difficulty with pinching to zoom.
> What is your practice regarding this Satisfaction Condition? In your
> experience is zoom or text resizing the dominant method by which users
> with impaired vision enlarge text?
> Thanks!
> Alan
> > > >