Appropriate Feedback with Forms

Checking for labelling on forms has already been discussed, but in this test we are checking to see what happens if someone fails to complete the form or adds incorrect data such as text instead of numbers etc or does not have time to complete a form.  The latter tends to happen in timed tests or where there is a security issue.  The picture below shows some text based feedback when an error occurs uploading data and the action fails. It might have been helpful to have also had an icon or image that clearly shows an upload failure such as a cloud with an arrow going up and a red cross.

Wordpress failure to write file to disk example

failure to write file to disk


Manual checks are almost the only way to see whether instructions or cues are provided appropriately when submitting a form or when errors have occurred.  The form elements are important as are the labels as mentioned in the labelling on forms web page.  Keyboard access is obviously essential at both the entry stage as well as at exit or submission.   When the error or submission message is returned, check that the focus for the keyboard access is immediately sent to the dialog box that appears or a text message is available at the start of a new page.  The content in both methods needs to be understandable and provide clear guidance, not leaving the user confused.

Use WebbIE or another text based browser or the Text-Only view in Webaim Wave online checker to see whether labels are correct and linked to text input forms.  Use a screen reader to check that the controls and feedback make sense.



This technique may be used to test the following sections of best practice.

Document Section Heading
WCAG 2.1 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose More Info
WCAG 2.1 2.2.1 Timing Adjustable More Info
WCAG 2.1 2.2.6 Timeouts More Info
WCAG 2.1 2.4.6 Headings and Labels More Info
WCAG 2.1 2.4.7 Focus Visible More Info
WCAG 2.1 3.3.1 Error Identification More Info
WCAG 2.1 3.3.2 Labels or Instructions More Info
WCAG 2.1 3.3.3 Error Suggestion More Info
WCAG 2.1 3.3.5 Help More Info