1.3.6 Identify Purpose (AAA)

Success Criterion 1.3.6 Identify Purpose (Level AAA):

In content implemented using markup languages, the purpose of User Interface Components, icons, and regions can be programmatically determined.


This success criterion builds on 1.3.5 to programmatically identify the purpose not only of selected text inputs, but icons, region of a page, and other user interface components. The page code would contain metadata that assistive technologies could interpret to give users additional information or modify the page for the user.

The success criterion is designed to help users customize their web experience. Users who find it easier to understand sets of icons than words would be able to place custom sets icons on the screen through assistive technology. They could also hide extraneous regions of the page to help them focus on the content they want to see.

The W3C does not currently have a recommendation on how to provide the additional metadata to make this customization achievable, so stay tuned.



Who it helps:

  • Users with difficulty reading or processing.
  • Users with difficulty maintaining focus.


A user with a cognitive disability after a concussion has difficulty focusing and processing words. Their assistive technology is able to use the metadata provided with a webpage so that they can turn off the page sections other than the form they are focusing on, and replace some of the form labels with icons that they recognize and process more easily than words.