Understanding SC 1.3.4 Orientation
Success Criterion 1.3.4 Orientation (Level AA): Content does not restrict its view and operation to a single display orientation, such as portrait or landscape, unless a specific display orientation is essential.
Examples where a particular display orientation may be essential are a bank check, a piano application, slides for a projector or television, or virtual reality content where content is not necessarily restricted to landscape or portrait display orientation.
Devices like smart phones & hand-held tablets have the feature of accessing the content in landscape & portrait modes. As & when the device is rotated the sensors in these devices identify the position off the device & content is displayed accordingly. The intent of this success criterion is to make sure that developers don’t restrict the usage of a mobile application or website to work in a specific mode. People with motor impairments tend to fix the devices to their wheel chair or use specifically landscape or portrait mode as it helps the users to access the content easily. Low vision and blind userslock the device either in portrait or landscape mode. When the application is rendered in the device it should render the content in whichever mode the user has chosen.
If the mobile application or the website doesn’t work in both landscape & portrait modes, then it fails this success criterion. When an application or website is moved from portrait mode to landscape mode there might be some loss of content or functionality & this is not a failure of this success criterion. In landscape mode we generally tend to have more space & hence the content will be aligned accordingly.
There are some exceptions provided for this success criterion as some content cannot be rendered in portrait mode, some of these exceptions are: