[thelist] accessible way to indicate that a form field is required

Max Schwanekamp lists at neptunewebworks.com
Fri Nov 17 11:36:26 CST 2006

ben morrison wrote:
> So sighted CSS users have to guess that bold means this field is required?

Like many forms with required fields, I put a brief explanatory 
statement at the top:  Required fields *in Bold.*  Yes, screen reader 
users will hear that too, but so what?  It's only 4 words, and as long 
as they can actually use the form fields (with the non-visual "Required" 
text) it's a forgivable sin, certainly less annoying than many other 
accessibility sins they're likely to encounter on an average web page.

My choice not to use the asterisk is mostly based on personal experience 
with users who don't catch that the asterisk signifies "required" (as 
opposed to "there's a footnote about this somewhere at the bottom of the 
  page"), whereas in my experience bold seems to be more intuitive for 
those non-web-savvy folk, and is sufficiently common that the web-savvy 
will catch on as well, cf the first paragraph in that article cited 
earlier on simplyaccessible.org[0]. But of course my anecdotal evidence 
is hardly conclusive!

[0] http://simplyaccessible.org/examples/required-form-fields

Max Schwanekamp

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