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HTML code showing landmarksPhoto by Andrzej Dąbrowski

Today we are discussing WCAG Criterion 1.3.6 – Identifying Purpose (Level AAA).

What is its goal and what is it meant to serve?
It is somewhat a complement to Criterion 1.3.5 – Identifying Input Purpose (Level AA), which aims to assist in filling out data in forms. Criterion 1.3.6 covers a bit more—it is not limited to form fields alone.

In simple terms, it involves using semantic HTML tags wherever possible. This allows assistive technologies to recognize the specific element/part of the page and process it accordingly.

It’s easier to explain this with an example:
Imagine you’re buying a cosmetic product on a Korean website, and you don’t know Korean. The site uses special graphics to indicate the availability of the product, but these are not universally recognizable symbols. If the page contains appropriate semantic tags, as a User, you can adjust your browser settings to automatically convert this symbol into one that you easily recognize—such as a green “checkmark.”

Without the correct semantic tag, your web browser won’t recognize and replace these symbols with a different set of icons.

A similar situation may occur when a User has attention issues and wants to browse only a specific region (sections of the page). By correctly defining landmarks and regions, the User can somewhat skip the parts that don’t interest them and go straight to the one they want.
So, what needs to be done to meet this criterion?
When creating a digital product, ensure that graphics, page regions, and other user interface elements can be implemented using semantic HTML tags or WAI-ARIA. This means that as a website creator, you cannot rely solely on visual presentation. Through proper implementation, the User’s browser (or other device receiving the product) is able to correctly process these elements. This allows the end user to modify hardware settings according to their needs, thereby making the content of the page more perceivable and understandable—while also fulfilling the core principles of WCAG.

Link to WCAG Criterion 1.3.6 –

Małgorzata Szymczak

Małgorzata Szymczak

Accessibility Specialist & Junior Frontend Developer