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Accessibility Audit Guide: writing good words

The results of an accessibility audit can be in many different formats. A report, Jira tickets, a spreadsheet, or something else. Whatever the format, it’s useful to be as clear as possible.

Some popular fields in audit reports are: summary, user impact, Ideas for how to fix it. Different teams use different names for these. Below I explain what each one means, give an example, and provide links to sources that I consult for finding good wording.


A one sentence summary of the issue describing what’s missing or incorrect.

For example: the page title is not unique and does not describe the page content.

Writing guidance

Use How to Meet WCAG (Quick Reference).

  • Take the Success Criteria.
  • Flip it to describe the “failure criteria”.
  • Reword it to make it more readable and less formal.
  • Add specifics: the page, the element.

User Impact

A one sentence description of who the issue affects and the barrier they are facing.

  • Aligns with the Severity. Describes the problem, inconvenience, or frustrations.
  • Includes the Functional Category (or Categories): vision (blind, low vision, colourblind), motor / physical, cognitive.
  • Uses bold and unqualified language: “users can not” rather than “users may not be able to”.
  • Includes the technology: keyboard, magnification tools, increased text size, screen reader, voice control.

Writing guidance

Ideas for how to fix it

A one sentence description of the change(s) needed to resolve the issue.

  • Where possible, the HTML to use.
  • Where possible, the technology-specific code to use (e.g. which component in the design system, which props of a React component to use).

Writing guidance

  • For HTML: check the name and Rule Description for axe rules.
  • For technology-specific code: the design system documentation.


When describing the solution, tailor the text to the team.

  • Some teams want to know the required outcome. For example: “the button must have an accessible name.”
  • Some teams want more specific and detailed descriptions of how to fix the issue. For example: “Give the button an accessible name by adding an aria-label of Save to the button”. Another example: “Give the button an accessible name by adding by setting the ariaLabel prop of the Button React component to Save”.

Fixed it?

Ways to know if the fix has resolved the issue:

  • check that the Summary sentence is now false;
  • check that the User Impact is no longer applicable.