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Getting Started with Observation Templates

It’s quite common to encounter similar issues from one audit to another, these issues often require similar observation details and remediation suggestions. Observation Templates give you the opportunity to save observation details and remediation notes for reuse later.

Creating Observation Templates

There are two places you can create new templates, one is in the dedicated Observation Templates section and the other is the “Make Template” button at the bottom of an observations detailed view.

Observation Templates Section

There’s a link to this section at the top of your dashboard called “My Observation Templates”.

Dashboard page with one project, the "My Observation Templates" button at the top right corner is highlighted to illustrate what it looks like.

This section is where you can filter, search, view, edit, and delete all your templates. To get started from here, click on the “Create an observation template” button.

An empty Observation Templates section, with some intro text about what templates are for as well as a link to create the first one.

“Make Template” Button

Particularly useful for cases where you’ve already written out a full observation that you’d like to copy to a template for reuse, this “Make Template” button is available from within the audit editor inside the detailed portion of an observation.

An open audit editor with existing observations, one observation is open and the "Make Template" button found at the bottom of that observations details is highlighted to illustrate what it looks like.

Template Fields

Both of the template creation methods noted above will open the Observation Template form. This form contains the following same fields found in the observation form:

  • Success Criterion – a typeahead search field of all WCAG success criteria, as well as an “other” option
  • Summary – A brief summary that is displayed when the observation details are closed.
  • Observation Details – Full WYSIWYG content area to describe the observation
  • Remediation Notes – Full WYSIWYG content area to provide suggestions for remediation

At the bottom it also contains an Organization section with the following two fields:

  • Personal Notes – Full WYSIWYG content area to jot down any personal notes for this template
  • Keywords – An area to place additional keywords or terms that you can use for easier searching later

These two fields won’t be copied to an observation and are solely for your use.

The screenshot below is an example of the form after clicking on the “Make Template” button of an existing observation. Notice that the Success Criterion, Summary, Observation Details, and Remediation Notes fields are pre-filled with those values from the observation selected.

The top of the Create Observation Template form, showing the Sucess Criterion, Summary, and Observation Details form fields pre-populated with values that came from the currently open observation.

Using Observation Templates

Now that you have built up some templates, let’s take a look at how you can start using them. When you’re in the observation editor, you’ll come across a button towards the top of the Detail section labeled “Use Observation Template”.

An open observation form, scrolled to the Detail section where there's a "Use Observation Template" button towards the top.

This button will open another view where you can search for the template you’d like to use.

Searching for a Template

By default, the choose template view is going to start pre-filtered to the success criterion you’ve selected for this observation. In the screenshot above, that’d be SC 1.4.8. Here’s what you’ll see when clicking “Use Observation Template”.

The Choose Observation Template view, with a search input at the top populated with "1.4.8". Below, one result is displayed in a table for the 1.4.8 criterion and the last column has a button labeled "Use".

In this case there’s just one result, but as you build up your templates this list will start to grow. The more templates you have the harder it’ll be to find a template solely by success criterion, to help narrow down the results even further you can add more words or phrases to the filter input.

For example, to find the same template in the example above you could have added the keywords “line height” to the 1.4.8 already there. That’d narrow the results to criterion 1.4.8 as well as those that have “line height” in the summary or the keywords field.

Choosing a Template

When you’ve found the template you want to use, click on the “Use” button in the last column of the table. This will close the choose template view, populate the Summary, Observation Details, and Remediation Notes fields of your observation.

Caution, if you’re editing an existing observation and choose a template in this way the Summary, Observation Details, and Remediation Notes fields will all be overwritten by the template values.

Last updated: Mar 3rd 2024

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