Web Accessibility Testing

Online Forms

Definition

Accessible forms are fully keyboard-operable, with well-labeled fields that change visually when they receive focus.  Forms also should include detection and recovery mechanisms that alert the user of invalid input, required fields, and other changes in context.

Why is this an accessibility issue?

Some users are unable to see the text that accompanies most form fields.  Without the visual text, it is impossible to tell the purpose of a form field unless there is a label that a screen reader can associate with the field.

Testing Methodology

  • Keyboard-operability: complete and submit the form without using a mouse or stylus;
  • Labeled fields
    • Click or send focus to a field's ¬†corresponding <label> element; the field should take focus, OR;
    • Evaluate form <label> items using the Forms tool in the Web Developer toolbar; OR
    • Fields without <label> tags use the TITLE attribute to provide contextual information
  • Review error detection and recovery mechanisms to ensure that:
    • Cursor focuses to the message in the alert mechanism;
    • The user can navigate by keyboard within the alert interface;
    • When the user closes the alert mechanism, focus returns to the point of the error, or another appropriate location within the document

Tools

  • Web Developer Toolbar (Forms >> View Form Information)
    • Generates a grid of fields and labels
  • WAVE (Errors, Features and Alerts)
    • Reveals unlabeled form controls
  • WAVE (Text-Only)
    • Exposes labels within form controls

Conformance

Forms meet accessibility guidelines if:

  • They are fully keyboard-operable
  • All fields are accompanied by meaningful <label> elements, or use the TITLE attribute
  • Error messages are interactive and navigable for users of screen readers and other AT
  • No other barriers exist in the form