WCAG – 1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics (Level A)

1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics (A): Instructions provided for understanding and operating content do not rely solely on sensory characteristics of components such as shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound. (Level A)


  • Do not use shape, size, colour or visual location to communicate instructions.

Why is it important?

This ensures that instructions can be understood by users who are unable to see or recognise information communicated using sensory characteristics.


  • If you give tips or instructions, do not assume that users can perceive colour, size, shape, sound or the location of elements on screen.
  • Instructions must not depend on sensory characteristics like shape, size, colour, or location.

Common Mistakes

  • An instruction tells users to “Click the green button”;
  • An instruction tells users to “Use the menu on the left of the page”;
  • An instruction tells users they can “Find more information in the square box”;
  • Users are told that “Instructions are in the right-hand column”;
  • Users are told that “A beeping sound indicates you may continue”.


  1. Accessibility Guidelines- Github.io