United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VHA Office of Health Information

Training for Testing Software for 508 Compliance

Page 3 of 6

Testing for §1194.21 (l): Electronic Forms

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Form with clear, accessible instructions.

The electronic form in the graphic above includes instructions that clearly state what is expected and how to recognize what is required. Clear instructions help all users; they particularly help disabled users understand what they will encounter on a form.

Each type of control used on the form (text box, combo box, radio button and checkbox) has an associated AccessibleName. For example, the AccessibleName for the City edit field is set in the Properties dialog. When a screen reader user tabs to each control or reads through the page, the AccessibleName given to each control is read.

On the form above, several fields are required. The textual character used to indicate the fields' required status (an asterisk) must be included in the AccessibleName property so that all the necessary information is conveyed.

The "* Gender:" groupbox on the electronic form and its AccessibleName and AccessibleRole properties in the Properties window are highlighted.

When related radio buttons and checkboxes are placed inside a grouping control, their parent control's AccessibleName is conveyed to assistive technology. Placing controls in a grouping control helps relate the controls so a user can determine which options belong with each group. If a grouping control is not used to relate available options, the grouping information must be included in each control's AccessibleName.

For example, "* Gender:" in the above graphic is a parent control in a grouping that includes the options, Female and Male. However, if "* Gender:" was static text, then the AccessibleName properties for the options would have to be "* Gender: Female" and "* Gender: Male". If there were multiple sets of Yes/No questions on a form, a user would not know which control was associated with which question unless the parent names were included.

Error dialog indicating that First Name is a required field and instructing the user to edit the field before submitting the form.

It is important that error messages provide clear, concise instructions on how to resolve a problem.

Warning dialog telling the user he has 3 minutes remaining before the session times out and asking whether the user requires more time.

Providing the user with the option to extend his or her session to complete a form ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, have enough time to complete the task.

Select Next to learn about using AT to test electronic forms for accessibility.

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