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Web Communication CSS dependence

CSS dependence

CSS dependence just means site shouldn’t rely on CSS to be functional or understandable. Often sites will use CSS to load important images for example. This is bad for several reasons. Background images can’t be tagged for accessiblity and with CSS turned off they aren’t shown.

The other issue that pops up with CSS dependence is content order. Sometimes, content will be arranged on screen with CSS instead of the natural code flow.


  1. Disable CSS.
  2. Check for missing information (images, text, etc).
  3. Check for code or other items the developer doesn’t want you to see.
    • Confusing elements shouldn’t be present such as CSS, JavaScript, or other code, etc.
  4. Check for overlapping text.



Background images
Replace non-decorative CSS background images with standard inline images. By using an inline image you can then add an “Alt Tag” which will help with accessibility.

Overlapping Text

The original text for this document was created by the 18F and made available in the public domain under the CC0 1.0 Universal license.

Washington State University has made modifications to the original document. These changes are also licensed as CC0 1.0. Please feel free to reuse this content.