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WCAG 2.1 Check Point 1.3.4 - Orientation

Summary

Content should not restrict its view and operation to a single display orientation, such as portrait or landscape, unless a specific display orientation is considered to be essential.

Details:

Content should not restrict its view and operation to a single display orientation, such as portrait or landscape, unless a specific display orientation is considered to be essential.

Some websites and applications automatically set the screen to a particular display orientation (landscape or portrait) and expect that users will respond by rotating their device to match. However, some users have their devices mounted in a fixed orientation (e.g. on the arm of a power wheelchair). Therefore, websites and applications need to support both orientations while also making sure all content and functionality is available in each orientation..

The main purpose of this guideline is to allow users with dexterity impairments, who might have a fixed, mounted device, will still be able to use the content in their fixed orientation. This guideline may also be beneficial to users with low vision who may change the orientation of a device to increase the width of the reading area in order to increase the size of content.

Examples of success:

  • Videos: Videos are not locked to a specific orientation. A user can start a video with their device in a portrait orientation resulting in a smaller video being displayed and then rotate the device to landscape and have the video expand to fill the entire screen. All controls and functionality are still available in the landscape orientation.
  • Messages: A messaging website can display messages in both portrait and landscape orientations without a loss of content or functionality.
  • E-readers: An eReader web app can display the contents of a book in both portrait and landscape mode without a loss of content or functionality.

Examples of essential orientations:

  • Check deposit banking: a banking app that requires the device be in landscape mode to easily and accurately capture an image of a check for deposit.
  • Piano applications: a piano app that requires the device to be in landscape mode to allow enough room for all of the piano keys to be accessible and usable.

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