Form Control


Form controls must be labeled and grouped to provide explicit references that can be used by assistive technologies to communicate the purpose of the form controls. The tabindex attribute can be used to include instructions and other information in the tab navigation ordering so that screen reader users can easily orient the information needed to complete the form.

Another important feature of forms is to provide information on errors or the validity of form fields. Many forms provide feedback to the user on whether form fields have been filled out correctly, and there are many ways to do so with fields that need to be updated before the form data will be accepted. These techniques must be carried out in an accessible way, or people with disabilities may not be aware of the problem and/or which form fields need to be updated for the form to be accepted.

Benefits to People with Disabilities

Labeling form controls properly helps people with disabilities:

  1. Understand the purpose of a form control within a web resource
  2. Identify and understand instructions on how to complete form control content
  3. Identify form controls with invalid or incomplete content
  4. Understand information needed to correct form field with invalid content

Benefits to Everyone

  1. Labels for checkboxes and radio buttons increase the effective target size for mouse actions to change the state of a checkbox or radio button.
  2. Consistent feedback on errors and invalid or incomplete form content makes it easier for users to identify the form content that needs to be updated to make the form acceptable.

Benefits to Developers

  1. Centralized and consistent management of form input errors makes it easier to manage the creation and maintenance of web forms.

More Information

  1. Screen reader software support for the TITLE attribute (Paciello Group)
  2. Assistive technology users test title attribute access (Paciello Group)
  3. 20: HTML forms – the basics (Opera Web Standards Curriculum)


input[type=submit | reset] (HTML4)

input[type=button] (HTML4)

input[type=image] (HTML4)

fieldset/legend (HTML4)

label (HTML4)

input[title] (HTML4)

select (HTML4)

textarea (HTML4)

input[type=text|password|radio|checkbox|file] (HTML4)

Related Accessibility Requirements

Section 508

Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Standards

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0