3.2.4 Consistent Identification: Components that have the same functionality within a set of Web pages are identified consistently. (Level AA)
The guideline requires that functional components (elements) that appear
repeatedly in a set of web pages must have the same name/label. This helps
Assistive aid users who heavily rely on these functional elements for quick
navigation & understanding the purpose of a particular widget.
For example, if the “search button “is labelled as either “find or go” in a
web page while it is being labelled as “search” on all other pages, then it
fails this checkpoint. This checkpoint applies to non-text content, icons
and images that appear repeatedly & serve as labels too. In these cases, the
alternative text for such labels must be consistent.
Besides being useful to assistive aid users, providing consistent visual
non-textual labels for the repeated components reduces the cognitive load of
users with cognitive disabilities who learn the repetitive functions of such
components. For them, relearning every time when introducing new labels or
alternative texts would be difficult.
Points to Remember
- Icons & images that are used repeatedly and provide the same function must be provided with same alternative text.
- Elements with same function are named & labelled consistently.
- Use icons/images that are consistent. For example print, twitter, Facebook etc.
- Images will have different meaning in different context, so will need different alternative text depending on the context.