Input assistance, errors and required fields: accessibility for developers

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

Quick facts

It must be clear to people with disabilities what fields are required, how to complete them according to your data needs, and how to respond to any errors discovered in the validation of their input.


  • Mark required fields using more than one modality
  • Identify inputs with specific requirements
  • Context sensitive help and error prevention
  • Error detection and feedback
  • Server and client-side validation

From an accessibility point of view, the most important parts of any website are the sections where the user interacts with the content.

Making plain text accessible to screen readers is not difficult when the words are plain text and there is a considered semantic structure to the webpage. Far more complex are instances where the user is required to provide information, comply with expectations on the qualities of that information, and be adequately notified of any errors that may have occurred during that information supply.

In other words, is it clear to people with disabilities what fields are required, how to complete them according to your data needs, and how to respond to any errors discovered in the validation of their input.

The processing of web forms, which is discussed in greater detail in the topic on forms for developers, is probably where improving accessibility has the greatest impact.

This topic will concentrate on the core issue for adequate accessibility in web forms: assistance provided to a person with disabilities needs to match the assistance provided to a person without disabilities.

We will discuss these three core qualities of web forms separately below.

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