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Accessibility: How to dismiss occurrences of accessibility issues

Modified on: Mon, 16 May, 2022 at 10:37 AM

You may want to hide occurrences of issues that you cannot work on to give a focused view of priorities, manage your workload or report on progress.

This may include dismissing occurrences where third-party code is causing specific accessibility issues that you are not able to fix. It may also include instances where you believe there is a false positive result. 

If this happens you can report it to us, and we will remove it from your list while we investigate it. 

Note: False positives are reviewed manually, which can take several days or weeks. You can check the status of false positives reported at Accessibility > Activity. Feel free to contact customer support if you have questions about the review status.

You can find the dismiss options under a cogwheel in the page report.

dismiss option under a cogwheel in page report

How can I dismiss occurrences of accessibility issues?

1. Dismiss an occurrence as can’t fix.

Note that the decision is applied only to the exact matches of the occurrence. In practice, the underlying code needs to be 100% same, for us to apply the decision to occurrences across other pages as well.

If you dismiss an occurrence, you have decided to hide all the precise matches of a specific occurrence from the platform. When you have dismissed an occurrence, you will see a note about the dismissed occurrence on the Activity page, Accessibility > Activity.

option to dismiss an occurrence as can’t fix.

2. Dismiss an occurrence as a false positive. 

If you encounter a false-positive report, we would love to hear about it, so that we can provide you with the most accurate assessment of issues. That is why, besides the possibility of dismissing as "can’t fix", you can also dismiss as a "false positive". When you "dismiss as a false positive", all the exact matches of the specific occurrence will be hidden from the platform, and we will be notified to investigate the potential bug further. You will be able to see on the Activity page if the bug is confirmed by Siteimprove. In cases where an occurrence is confirmed manually as false positive by Siteimprove, you will be rewarded the missing accessibility points. Reporting a false positive to us will result in improved checks, not only for the rest of your website(s) but for everyone.

Option to dismiss an occurrence as a false positive

3. Mark a section of your website as out of scope (Advanced).

You can also dismiss occurrences using a CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) selector. CSS selector is a powerful tool you can use in case you have, for instance, third party content (e.g., a chat widget or social media wall), that you would like to entirely exclude. Excluding sections of your page with the CSS selector means that no occurrences seen within that selected area will be reported within the platform.

Note: When using CSS selector to dismiss occurrences, the decision will be applied to all content targeted by the selector, across all the pages on the site.

Advanced option to mark a section of your website as out of scope

You can learn more about CSS selectors in the W3 schools.

How do I keep track of the dismissed occurrences?

You can access all the decisions that you have made on the Activity overview page at Accessibility > Activity.
Here you can see the full list of decisions taken as well as:

  • who took them
  • when they were actioned
  • why the occurrence was dismissed

You may also undo your decisions on the activity page.

 Activity overview page at Accessibility > Activity

You are also able to filter the issues lists by dismissed occurrences, should you wish to gain an overview of the dismissed occurrences by issue.

Does the Accessibility score improve if I dismiss occurrences?

Dismissing occurrences as can’t fix will not impact your accessibility score. The accessibility score is used as an industry benchmark that is aimed at providing an accurate description of the level of accessibility across industries. Hiding valid issues does not mean that the accessibility of your site has improved. It just means that certain issues are not in your focus, for valid reasons.

Instead, if you have set up a Site Target, representing your organizational accessibility goal, this will get lower to reflect the dismissed issues.
Of course, if you have found a real false positive, that Siteimprove has validated, you will be rewarded with the accessibility points immediately. We appreciate the help you provide to us when you report a false positive, since the score calculation will become more accurate for everyone in the process.

Can I dismiss an entire check?

It is not possible to exclude an entire issue check from the platform using the dismiss feature. Ignoring an issue entirely might lead to dismissing a number of valid occurrences that impact the accessibility of your site. New occurrences of that issue emerging after this point would also be missed from your list. We recommend always reviewing individual occurrences carefully before making the dismiss decision.

Instead of dismissing valid issues, Account Owners can create focus by filtering out groups of issues, like AAA or best practice checks, using the Site Target feature. You can read more about setting a Site Target here.

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