United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VHA Office of Health Information

Training for Testing Software for 508 Compliance

Page 5 of 6

Testing for §1194.21 (l): Electronic Forms

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Testing without AT

You can test electronic forms for many points without using assistive technology:

  • Use the Tab and Shift Tab keys to move between controls.
  • Use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through controls such as selection lists and radio buttons.
  • Use the spacebar to toggle or activate controls such as checkboxes and buttons.
  • Use available tools and utilities to verify that name, role, value and state information is being exposed to AT for all controls:
    • Use Inspect32 to verify whether programmatic Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) information is being exposed to AT. (MSAA is a framework that provides accessibility information for platforms that support it. Some standard Windows controls, many Microsoft technologies, Adobe Flash and Flex can expose information through MSAA.)
    • Use Java Ferret and Java Monkey to verify that accessibility information has been set for each control in Java applications.
    • For applications developed in Delphi, ensure that accessibility information is exposed through the VA508 accessibility framework properties for each control.

See the Glossary and Resource links for more information about MSAA and the other tools mentioned here.

Note, however, that not all AT fully utilizes utilities such as MSAA, so correct implementation of an accessibility framework does not guarantee accessibility. You will need to test applications manually to verify that a screen reader accurately reports the name, role, value and state of controls. If you have verified that programmatic information is properly exposed, but the screen reader is not reading correctly, contact the VHA Section 508 Office for assistance.


Use these criteria to make your evaluation of the related checkpoints:


Pass if all of these conditions are met:

  • Instructions are provided at the beginning of the form.
  • Each form control can receive the focus.
  • The controls receive the focus in a logical order.
  • The form object with focus is visually identifiable.
  • Each control has descriptive text associated with it.
  • It is clear to a user what kind of input is expected and which fields are required. When field constraints exist, they are indicated visually and not only via color.
  • Each form control can be manipulated using the keyboard.
  • Each control or form object programmatically has a label or title associated with it within close proximity of the field.
  • Error messages appear with the word Error and indicate what fields are in error.
  • Timed responses are not used unless the user is given a chance to request more time. (An exception to this condition is when overriding a timed response would invalidate the purpose of the form, such as for a quiz.)


Fail if any one of the above conditions is not met.

Select Next to complete this module.

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