SC Short name

Consistent Cues

SC Text

Provide Consistent Cues: Within a set of web pages, consistent cues are provided that identify different content types, and the state of elements and regions, which help the user understand their roles or states.

Suggestion for Priority Level (A/AA/AAA)


Related Glossary additions or changes

Content types: The type and function of a content element. Content types are typically defined in HTML tag names, ARIA roles, or personalization semantics.

Examples include: roles, types of contact information, types of help, types of functions, warnings, key points, errors, system messages, notes, definitions, more information, tables of content, site maps, file types, search, required information, errors, opinions, essential information, types of transaction, types of reminder, usage instructions, status of elements, invalid fields, non-native content, and sponsored content.

What Principle and Guideline the SC falls within.

Principle 3, Guideline 3.3 “Input Assistance”


The use of inconsistent cues can present significant barriers to users with cognitive accessibility needs. The intent of this Success Criterion is to ensure that navigation, operability, and the ability to complete tasks associated with a website, are fully supported by consistent cues throughout the website.

For example:


The benefit to users with cognitive accessibility needs is that consistent cues and prompts, provided throughout a website or application, create familiarity and reduce cognitive load. The advantages of familiarity and reduced cognitive load are that processes are easier to follow and appear to be less complex. This may benefit users with cognitive accessibility needs in several ways, including:

While providing consistent cues is of benefit to all users, it is of particular benefit to a wide range of users with differing cognitive accessibility needs, including users with:

Providing consistent cues is a cornerstone of good UX design. They not only benefit users with diverse cognitive accessibility needs, but also benefit any user who is unfamiliar with the content. As such, the benefits are not restricted to a relatively small subset of users.
Related Resources (optional)

The Aphasia Alliance's Top Tips for 'Aphasia Friendlier' Communication taken from

Phiriyapkanon. Is big button interface enough for elderly users, P34, Malardardalen University Press Sweden 2011.




Test Procedure

  1. Ensure, by inspection, that headings and regions are identified consistently.
  2. Change the states of elements, such as tab panels and selected options. Confirm that each cue is consistent with other cues within a set of web pages.

Automatic tests can include if:

CSS toggles consistently on different states on similar items;

CSS is used consistently on headings, roles, personalization, and semantics.




Symbols are available that help the user identify key content types identified in a glossary section.

Using CSS to show a state consistently.

Using CSS to consistently show a content type.

Failure Technique: Adding a star next to key content, as that does not help the user to understand the context of the key content.

working groups notes (optional)