Forms: accessibility for developers

  • Author: Access iQ ®
  • Date: 1 Feb 2013
  • Access: Premium

Quick facts

Form requirements must be made clear for people with disabilities, so they can equally participate in the activities the form was designed for.

  • Explicitly associate form labels with their input fields
  • Associate form controls with the title attribute if a label cannot be used
  • Group form labels together visually
  • Use fieldset and legend to create semantic structure

The longest running method for users to interact with websites has been through the input elements in HTML forms, officially a part of HTML since 1995's HTML 2.0. It is the simplest way for users to provide information and to interact with automated systems. In contrast to simple actions a user may take like following links, forms allow a website to collect data from a user, restrict qualities of that data to specific parameters and to do something with that data, in the browser, on the server, or both.

For people to use forms, it must be made clear what the form requires of them. The requirements must also be made clear for people with disabilities, so they can equally participate in the activities the form was designed for. Fortunately, HTML has elements that contribute to accessible forms and screen readers are adept at parsing the context and semantic meaning of these elements to users.

This topic discusses several basic components of a form and how to make them accessible.

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