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Scannable content

Can you scan the page without having to pause for long passages? Can you quickly grasp the meaning of a section based on its heading?

Why it’s important: Jerrold has a cognitive disability that makes it difficult for him to read long, uninterrupted passages of text.

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Sharon reads most online content using her mobile device and finds it difficult to navigate long paragraphs.

Steps to take

  • Use short sentences, whenever possible. Varying sentence length can add interest to a piece, but whenever possible, avoid unnecessarily long sentences — these can present obstacles to people who have difficulty reading. They can also be harder to skim on mobile devices.
  • Likewise, keep your paragraphs short and focused. Short paragraphs, like short sentences, are easier to scan on mobile devices.
  • Use precise and descriptive headings to help readers grasp the main points of a piece without reading it in its entirety.
  • Check the continuity between sections. Paragraphs that don’t have clear thematic links from one to the next can cause difficulties for some readers.


Headings and titles, 18F Content Guide

WCAG 2.0 references


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