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WCAG: 1.4.8 Visual Presentation

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Blocks of Text

Wading through unbroken blocks of text on a site is about as enjoyable as watching 57 uninterrupted hours of mid-1980s spelling bee recaps. They may also prove difficult or impossible to read for those who are experiencing low vision or have cognitive, language, or learning disabilities.

Adjustable Colors

Users should be able to select the foreground and background colors on your site. Those experiencing visual or cognitive limitations sometimes need to read text in particular color combinations that might seem unintuitive to others. This can even include low-contrast color combinations, which is why WCAG 1.4.3 and WCAG 1.4.6 don't necessarily apply here.

Watch Your Width

Those with reading or visual disabilities may have a hard time keeping their place if the lines of text are too long. Accordingly, the lines in a block of text should not go beyond 80 characters or glyphs (40 if CJK). Narrower blocks will help users continue to the next line of text without losing their place and interrupting the flow of their reading.

Margins! Margins! Margins!

Blocks of text should not be justified (that is, aligned to both left and right margins). When you justify text, it makes for uneven spacing between words, which can in turn create an appearance of rivers of white space running down the length of the page. Blocks of text that aren't justified will be easier to read for those experiencing certain cognitive limitations.

Give Me Some Space

Likewise, people with some cognitive disabilities may find it difficult to read blocks of text if the lines are too close together. Make sure lines of text are at least a space and a half apart within paragraphs and that paragraphs are, in turn, spaced at least 1.5 times larger than the space set between lines.

Resizing

This one might look familiar to you, if you read our article on WCAG 1.4.4. Users of your site must be able to resize text up to 200% without using assistive technologies and in such a way that they don't need to scroll horizontally in a full-screen window.