Consistent Navigation
Success Criterion 3.2.3 (Level AA)

Question

In your website/application, when navigational mechanisms are repeated from page to page, are they consistent in location and order across all similar pages?

Why is this important

When content and components are repeated across a series of webpages, it is important that users be able to easily find and predict where they can find things on each page. This can benefit users with low vision, users with cognitive limitations and intellectual disabilities as well as users who are blind and using a screen reader.

Whom does it benefit?

Example 1:

As a person with low vision using screen magnification
I want to be able to use visual cues and boundaries to quickly locate repeated components on a page
so that I can navigate to the different components without panning through the entire screen on each webpage in a group.

Example 2:

As a person with dyslexia
I want to be able to locate repeated screen components using spatial memory instead of textual cues
so that I can quickly and easily find screen components on each webpage in a group.

Example 3:

As a blind person using a screen reader
I want to be able to find repeated screen components in the same space on each webpage in a group
so that I can skip to the components I’m looking for without navigating through the entire page.

What should you do?

When designing a series of related webpages, the content should always be displayed in a consistent and predictable manner. On each page, where there are elements that are repeated across all the different pages, those elements should appear in the same relative order each time they are displayed. For instance, if a series of webpages all have a navigation bar and a search field, and the first in the series has the navigation bar at the top, external links in the middle and the search field at the bottom, every page in which these components appear should have the navigation bar at the top, links in the middle and the search field at the bottom.

How do you do it?

  • Make a list of all the components and/or content that are repeated across a series of related webpages.
  • For each component or content piece, make sure that they are in the same relative order as compared with other repeated elements each time they appear.
  • For every component that is used for navigation, make sure the links and references always appear in the same order as compared to other repeated elements.

Need technical guidance?

Technical guidance is available for implementing this Success Criterion at the Understanding Success Criterion 3.2.3 - Consistent Navigation page.

Additional Resources to help you: