The release of WCAG 2.2 introduced two new level A success criteria and four new level AA success criteria.  In this post, I provide a summary of  Success Criteria 3.2.6, Consistent Help (Level A).

WCAG 2.2. SC 3.2.6, Consistent Help (Level A)

This Success Criterion is about ensuring users can get timely help when completing a task. For example, by ensuring consistent placement of help links and help content. This criterion does not relate to ‘interface-level help’ such as spell checkers, tooltips, auto-complete functions, or contextual menus.

‘Consistent help’ includes the idea that links should maintain the same relative order across all pages within the set. I.e., the order of items before and after the help link should remain the same. For example, if you have a help link within a set of other links, that help link should have the same links before and after it, on every page.

Common help mechanisms include:

  • Human contact details, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and hours of operation.
  • Human contact mechanisms, like chat clients, messaging systems,  social media channels, or contact forms.
  • Self-help options, such as Support pages and FAQs.
  • Automated contact mechanisms, like chatbots.

The order in which these help mechanisms are listed does mean they are in order of priority.

Design consistent help mechanisms within similar pages

This criterion applies only within a set of related web pages. Complex websites may comprise multiple sets of pages with different purposes, allowing different help mechanisms for distinct sets. However, consistency in help mechanism locations, even across different related sets, is encouraged.

WCAG 2.2. SC 3.2.6, Consistent Help – Constraints and Exemptions

This Success Criterion does not imply that content authors must provide help. It means that when a specified form of help is available across multiple pages, its location remains consistent. Neither does it mandate the constant availability of human contact. If human contact isn’t available at certain times, information should be provided to inform users when it will be accessible.

Download are exempt from this Success Criteria

PDFs or static documents available for download are not considered part of the “set of web pages”, therefore they are exempt from this criteria.

An exception is introduced when “a change is initiated by the user.” This exception accommodates situations where a user’s action, such as changing zoom levels or viewport size, results in altering the display or layout of a page.

Assistance Mechanisms

Support for Cognitive and Learning Disabilities

The following suggestions will make content more usable and accessible for people with cognitive and learning Impairments.

  • Contact mechanisms should allow users to express their queries in their own words. This is especially beneficial for those with cognitive disabilities.
  • Contact details should allow users to connect with the specific part of the organisation relevant to their needs – if that service is available.
  • Chatbots are a good idea, particularly if they provide human contact details after multiple unsuccessful attempts, recognise misspelled words, and are easy to dismiss and recall.
  • For pages without human support, self-help options should explicitly state the absence of human support.

Success Criteria 3.2.6 is designed to help users overcome challenges and complete tasks efficiently.

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I provide comprehensive digital content accessibility consultancy services, including an accessibility auditing of your websites and documents – measured against the WCAG 2.2 standard. Get in touch to ensure your content is accessible to your widest possible audience and meets equality legislation requirements.

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