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Web Accessibility Guidelines for Online Forms

Under the Information and Communications Standards of the AODA, organizations must make their websites and web-based apps accessible. Organizations must do so by making their websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. This international standard gives web developers guidelines on how to make their webpages accessible to computer users with disabilities. However, updates to the Information and Communications Standards could require organizations to comply with more recent versions of WCAG. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released an improved version of these guidelines, version 2.1, in 2018. Moreover, the W3C will release WCAG version 2.2 in September 2022. This article outlines WCAG 2.1’s web accessibility guidelines for online forms.

Web Accessibility Guidelines for Online Forms

Web designers should create online forms that prompt users about the type and format of information to fill in. For example, when a form asks for an email address, the form should clearly indicate whether the user’s email, or someone else’s, is required. Similarly, a form requiring a date should indicate the order required, as well as punctuation needed, such as:

  • Year-month-day
    • 2022-07-15
  • Month, day, last two digits of year
    • 07, 15, 22
  • Day/month/year
    • 15/07/2022

Moreover, designers should ensure that assistive technologies can recognize these prompts, so that technologies will relay these prompts to users. For instance, when a user with a screen reader enters an edit field, the screen reader should state a clear prompt about how to fill in the edit field.

Advanced Requirements

The WCAG webpage provides the full list of requirements, as well as technical guidance on how to implement them. The AODA only requires websites to follow guidelines in version 2.0, level AA. However, the WCAG webpage provides guidelines for version 2.1, and at level AAA. While websites do not need to follow these guidelines, they can choose to follow them as a best practice. Websites that follow more guidelines have the chance to welcome more visitors and do more online business.