Is your website contact form accessible?

Does your website encourage visitors to get in touch via a web form? Most websites do, and many sites have multiple forms.

But is your web contact form accessible? Can every visitor to your website, regardless of ability, fill in your web form successfully?

How would I know if my web form is accessible?” I hear you asking…

If you can’t answer with a definitive ‘yes!’ to the question, it’s unlikely your contact form is accessible. I say this because a web form can be challenging to set up properly and if your web-designer / web-developer / marketing-agency were familiar with form accessibility they most likely would have raised accessibility with you when developing the site.

Not having an accessible web form on your site means you may be losing out on leads, if not everyone who uses it is successful.

So how can you quickly check how accessible your web form is? Here are a few simple tests you can perform to see how user-friendly it is:

  1. Are the fields large enough to tap into, e.g. if your user is on a touch screen?
  2. Are the form fields outlined clearly against the background so it’s possible for users with low vision to identify them on the screen?
  3. If you’re only using your keyboard tab key to navigate the form (users with motor skill issues may not use pointer devices like mice), is the order in which you move from one field to the next logical?
  4. When using your keyboard tab key to move from field to the next, is the ‘active’ field, the one with the cursor in it, outlined differently to the other fields so users with low vision can clearly identify which field they are on?
  5. Do the fields auto-fill with regularly used form data e.g. for names, email address, physical address, phone number etc?
  6. Do the fields have clear labels and descriptions so users have little difficulty understanding what is expected of them?
  7. If the form fields have placeholder text (text inside the field that disappears when you start typing) is the colour of the text high-contrast against the background colour of the field?
  8. If your form uses a captcha device (to prevent non-humans from submitting the form) is the test presented optionally in multiple forms e.g. text/image and sound?
  9. When a user submits a form with errors, are the errors presented near the fields that need re-filling correctly, so the user understands immediately where they may have gone wrong?
  10. Are form submission errors presented descriptively, informing the user clearly why their field entry triggered an error?

So how did your web form fare? Is it accessible?

Chandesh Parekh

Chandesh Parekh

A website accessibility / inclusivity consultant, web developer and reputation marketer, Chandesh has been professionally immersed in the world wide web for over 20 years. Chandesh on LinkedIn