[thelist] Indicating required form fields

Julian Rickards julian.rickards at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 10:24:41 CST 2007


I am struggling to find a way to indicate that a form field is required in a
way that is accessible for everyone. The challenge is not so much on how to
indicate that a form field is required but how to inform users without
making the information redundant.

For example, I could use an * to indicate that a field is required and state
that "Fields marked with an * must be completed". However, I don't think
that "First Name *" is sufficient for screen reader users (maybe this
assumption is wrong, maybe screen reader users are accustomed to seeing this
and understand it but because I don't know a person who is a regular user of
screen reader software, I don't know for certain). One suggestion is to
replace the * with an image of the * with "required" as the alt text. This
means that a screen reader user will hear "First Name required". However,
how do I indicate this at the top of the form? For example, "Fields marked
with an * must be completed", if I use an image of the * with the alt text
"required" in place of the *, then it becomes (with a minor modification),
"Fields marked with required must be completed" (sighted users will see
"Fields marked with * must be completed").

One thought I had was to replace the text at the top of the form (Fields
marked with an * are required) with a graphic of this text (for the sighted
users) but use alt text that is different than the graphic text such as
"Required fields are identified by the word required after the field name".
This means that the alt text is different than the text it is replacing but
the intent is the same.

Any thoughts?


Website: http://jrickards.ca
Blog: http://pen-and-ink.ca
E-mail: julian dot rickards at gmail dot com

More information about the thelist mailing list