DQM and Experience Optimization
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DQM Checkpoints and Standards

Checkpoints - Do not use underlining to highlight text

Why is this important?

WCAG failure F2 looks into issues where the appearance of text conveys a meaning that is not using the correct markup. By default website links are text with an underline as such users tend to expect that text that do have an underline is a link. When a user sees an underlined text they expect it to be a link, therefore one should never underline text in the online world unless a link is being presented.

While the underline <u> tag was deprecated in html 4.01, it has a few, very specific use cases in HTML 5 such as misspellings and proper nouns in Chinese. Using a <u> element to add a visual underline on a link is not a proper use case of the element in HTML 5 and as such using a deprecated tag is also a WCAG issue.

How can I resolve this issue?

If the <u> is used to underline a link, CSS should be used instead. If a text is not a link then you may need to review why it needs to be underlined, it is suggested to use <strong> or <em> tags to add an emphasis on the text.

What topics do this checkpoint affect?

  •  Accessibility (WCAG 2 Level AA, 1.3.1), Usability

Can you explain how this checkpoint works?

This checkpoint examines the page and reports an issue if any underline <u> elements are used.


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