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WCAG 3.1.1: Language of Page (Literal Linguistics, not Computer Code)


Principle 2 of WCAG has been concerned with operability. In this article, we are moving onto Principle 3, which is all about making sure information and interfaces on your site are understandable to all users who may come across your page.

The first guideline in this principle, WCAG 3.1, helps ensure that the text content on your site is readable and understandable. 

WCAG 3.1.1: Language of Page-The Basics

Let's discuss why it's important to set a default language in the underlying coding of your page. Setting a default language ensures browsers and other user agents, including assistive technologies, present text and linguistic content correctly.

Screen readers, for instance, access pronunciation guides based on whichever language is set as the default on a given page. If you relied on a screen reader to use the web, you wouldn't want it to read an English-language page as if it were in French. In addition, the default language helps conventional browsers determine the correct display of scripts and characters on your page. 

One More Thing

It's worth noting that if your page contains text in multiple languages, whichever language appears most prominently should be set as the default.

The concept we discussed in this post describes the most basic, or level A, standard of this rule. In the next article, we'll talk about what you'd need to do to satisfy the AA-level standard.