3.3 Input Assistance

Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


We all have bad days when we do something and don't understand why it's wrong. Feedback is useful for everyone, especially when a computer or software is giving you the error message and live customer support is unavailable.

Providing assistance with input on form fields and other interactive areas increases the use (and turnaround) of these forms or interactive areas. W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides a tutorial on form concepts. It involves the following:

  1. Keep your forms simple or provide them in steps (e.g. pages) that notify people of their progress.
  2. Properly identify or label the form fields themselves, so they can be accessed easily and by any assistive technology.
    1. Make sure groups of options are properly defined, like radio buttons or check boxes.
    2. Add form field validation requirements to appropriate fields.
    3. Make sure custom form fields or controls are accessible to assistive technology.
  3. Help people out by putting appropriate instructions near the fields and connecting them in a manner accessible to assistive technology.
  4. Notify people when their submission is successful or has some errors to correct before final submission.