Forms accessibility principles
Form accessibility is important to people with the following disabilities:
- Low vision;
- Motor impairments; and
- Cognitive impairments.
Websites are accessed by a variety of devices including mouse, keyboard, touchscreen, switch, joystick and assistive technologies such as screen readers and magnifiers.
When a form is not accessible, some users may be unable to navigate the form components in a logical manner, understand labels, instructions, error messages and suggestions, or submit the form.
Accessibility principles specific to forms include, but are not limited to:
- All non-text content has a text equivalent
- Visual information should have a text equivalent.
- Form components should have a descriptive label.
- Interactive content or functionality should have a text equivalent.
- Information and structure can be programmatically determined
- Form structures are marked-up correctly.
- Field labels are coded with LABEL FOR and ID.
- Grouped fields use FIELDSET and LEGEND elements.
- A meaningful sequence is maintained
- The correct form sequence can be programmatically determined.
- Layout tables present information in a meaningful way.
- Instructions do not rely on sensory characteristics
- ASCII characters do not represent text.
- The form is keyboard operable
- All form functionality is operable with the keyboard.
- The keyboard focus does not get trapped in a form component.
- A logical focus order is maintained
- The keyboard focus order that matches the visual page order is not overwritten.
- Provide mechanisms to help people find information
- Provide a search feature to allow information to be found faster by everyone.
- Do not cause a change of context or content unexpectedly
- When a user inputs content (or makes a selection) or when a form component receives focus, do not present them with a change in context or content without warning.
- Identify components consistency
- Consistently identify and style similar form components.
- Identify and describe errors in text
- Errors that are automatically detected should be identified in text and described in detail to users.
- Provide labels or instructions
- Help prevent users from making mistakes by providing labels or instructions on how to fill out a form.
- Provide error suggestions
- Provide relevant suggestions to help users correct form errors.
- Prevent people from making errors
- Help prevent users from making serious errors or mistakes by providing a method to check or correct information before submitting a form.