Making Digital Forms Compatible with Screen Readers

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Making Digital Forms Compatible with Screen Readers

Working with Universal Design on digital platforms ensures ui accessibility for a broader group of consumers. It’s important to follow WCAG to avoid frustration at the end of the consumer and the potential risk of legal action for the business. It also broadens your market reach.

Many blind and visually impaired people use screen readers like JAWS and NVDA to access digital platforms. When these platforms consider screen reader compatibility, it makes for a smoother, less frustrating experience for screen reader users.

Interactive forms that can be filled out online work best. However, not all interactive electronic forms are accessible. According to Washington University, two key things to keep in mind when creating interactive PDF forms are:

  1. Labels and prompts must be explicitly associated with the fields they represent. Otherwise, screen reader users may be unable to determine what labels and prompts belong to what fields.
  2. The tab order must be logical. Screen readers typically navigate the keyboard with the tab key. Ensuring proper tab sequences helps users determine where they are in a form.

Digital forms are used for almost everything these days. It’s imperative that developers consider screen reader compatibility from the beginning. Innovation Studios provides the following for best practices when creating digital forms:

  • Form layout
  • A set of input fields within a form should be grouped by fieldset elements if they are related.
  • Do not use auto-advance.
  • Do not rearrange the order of the form or inputs with CSS.
  • Present only one or two inputs per line.
  • Ensure color-contrast ratios and typography are accessible.
  • Each fieldset should have a legend element directly under the first fieldset tag that describes the grouping.
  • Every input element in the form should have a related hybrid or explicit label.
  • Submission buttons should have a clear, actionable label.

Other key details that are crucial include creating clear, descriptive labels for all form fields, buttons, boxes, links, etc. Without a clear label, screen reader users will not be able to identify a function or field. If something is required for the form, provide the actual term “required” along with an asterisk so it’s clear to screen reader users that’s it’s required.

An online tutorial can help developers create digital forms with ui accessibility in mind.

Consultants, such as Outlook Business Solutions, can assess your platform for ui accessibility and work with your business to implement changes.

Active forms built with screen reader compatibility afford blind and visually impaired consumers an enjoyable experience on a digital platform. It broadens the market reach for a business by millions of potential consumers and creates an inclusive environment.