United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VHA Office of Health Information

Training for Testing Software for 508 Compliance

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Testing for §1194.21 (l): Electronic Forms

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This module will focus on the accessibility of electronic forms and form controls in applications.

The Section 508 requirement covering this is: §1194.21 (l) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

Accessibility requirements for electronic forms include: providing logical keyboard access, providing instructions in an accessible manner, not requiring timed responses and indicating error messages properly. Developers must make sure not only that electronic forms as a whole are accessible, but also that individual form fields, including form controls, meet accessibility requirements.

Form controls, also known as field elements, are any elements in an application that can be manipulated by the user or with which the user can interact. Common form controls include, but are not limited to:

  • Buttons
  • Checkboxes
  • Radio buttons
  • List boxes
  • Edit areas (also known as edit fields, text inputs, text areas)

Although form controls appear graphical, they can be very accessible to AT users. For form controls to be accessible, information about their identity – including name, role, value and state – must be exposed in an accessible manner.

Related Checkpoints

Remember, both testers and developers can use the checkpoints for this requirement to be sure the products they are working with will be accessible to users with disabilities, including those using assistive technology (AT).

Use the link above to look at the checkpoints now. You may wish to keep the window open as a reference to use as you complete this module.

Video Overview of this Requirement

To view an approximately three-minute video with additional information that may be helpful to testers and developers, select the video link below. The video will open in a new window; if you are using a screen reader to take this training, press Enter when you hear, "To start, press Play button."

Video in new window

Select Next for additional introductory information about this requirement.

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