Success Criterion 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose (Level AA): The purpose of each input field collecting information about the user can be programmatically determined when:
- The input field serves a purpose identified in the Input Purposes for user interface components section ; and
- The content is implemented using technologies with support for identifying the expected meaning for form input data.
As you are aware of, most of the websites use the forms to collect the data and we hardly find the website that does not have form. Some websites use the form for account signup and some other uses for email subscription and much more. to put this simpler, there are many types of forms exist and forms are everywhere on the web. Having clear labels or instructions for each form field on the form helps most of the users in filling the form but it may still pose some challenges for certain disabilities to fill the form.
In spite of having clear labels or instructions for the each form field, to identify the purpose of the each form field and fill the form, it may still create challenges for the people with cognitive disabilities, people with language and memory issues, people with low dexterity, and so on.. Let us understand how these users are impacted by forms
- Certain group of cognitive disability users find it very difficult to understand the purpose of the form fields with the help of text labels and these results difficult in filling the form
- Low dexterity users find it difficulty in filling the form by typing the same data across the different websites
- People who are having language and memory issues find it difficult to fill the form by remembering data of few form fields such as address, phone number and so on.
- Dyslexia users find it difficult to fill the form by getting the spellings and numbers right
WCAG 2.1 introduces the new checkpoint called “1.3.5: identify input purpose” to address the mentioned problems with forms. This success Criterion states that the purpose of each input field collecting information about the user can be programmatically determined. To satisfy this success criterion, authors must use HTML autocomplete attribute in order to programmatically determine the input fields. In addition, the token value of autocomplete must be matched as per the section 7 of WCAG 2.1. here are some example token values of autocomplete attribute.
- For the name input field, autocomplete=”name”
- for the first name, autocomplete=”given-name”
- for the last name, autocomplete=”family-name”
- for the email , autocomplete=”email”
and like this, there are 53 such token values for autocomplete. Author needs to look at list thoroughly and define the appropriate token value based on the purpose of the input field. You might be wondering how this autocomplete attribute helps for those disabilities that stated in the problem section of this blog post. Let us understand how autocomplete helps for those users. When autocomplete is defined with appropriate token value based on the input purpose
- cognitive disability users who cannot understand the purpose of the input field with the help of text labels will be able to understand the purpose of the input fields with the help of icons/symbols. For example, assistive technology used by cognitive disabilities insert the cake icon beside the date of birth input field when autocomplete=bday”is defined for the date of birth input field
- it reduces the burden for low dexterity users, language disability users, dyslexia users in typing same data(ex: email), remembering the information(ex: address), and correcting the spellings across the multiple websites as it is going to auto fil the data
Complementary info on the 1.3.5: identify the input purpose
This checkpoint is applicable only for the input fields that collects the user/personal data(ex: your email) but this checkpoint is not applicable for the input fields that collects the someone else data(ex: recipient email id). Apart from that, If the purpose of the input field is not present in the section 7 of WCAG 2.1 then this checkpoint is not applicable. Moreover, type ahead(edit combobox) is not covered as part of this checkpoint. In addition, if the technology is not supported to define autocomplete attribute then this checkpoint is not applicable.
Theoretically, assistive technology of cognitive disabilities inserts the symbols/icons based on the autocomplete value that author defined, but such assistive technology is not present as of now. It is assumed that future assistive technologies will have the those capabilities.