Why is accessibility to forms important?
Everyone uses forms. Electronic forms are becoming the standard in many industries including all levels of government. Forms can be visually and cognitively complex and challenging to use. Accessible forms are easier to use for everyone, including people with disabilities.
People with cognitive disabilities can better understand the requirements of specific forms and how to complete them when the forms have been made accessible, including by improving layout, structure, instructions, etc.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are organized by four main principles, which state that content must be POUR: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. These guidelines should form the basis of “form accessibility”.
Forms are a mundane part of most websites and are often overlooked. They’re that boring part of a website where you fill in your details to get the information you want. Fillable forms have been around for a long time, and because they’re so familiar, some content designers presume that forms are a problem that’s already been solved. Not quite. Complex forms are often cited as one of the most problematic areas for screen reader users.
Forms are used to provide user interaction on websites and in web applications. For example, login, registering, commenting, and purchasing. Because the act of filling out a form actually brings the user into a website, the opportunity to impress and promote anything to the user is great.
Just a few features to take into consideration when creating accessible forms:
- Users usually prefer simple-to-complete, short forms. If irrelevant or excessive data is requested, users are more likely to abandon the form.
- Time limits is another thing that is important to consider. If at all possible, forms should not be subject to a time limit in order to allow users to complete the form at their pace.
- People with limited dexterity benefit from large clickable areas.
For more information about guidelines and some good tutorials go to https://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/forms/#related