What Would You Miss out on if Someone Couldn’t Use a Form on Your Website?

Maybe a new business lead would simply pass you by. Or perhaps another company would land that great new employee who couldn’t complete your online application.

This is why you want to do the best you can to make your website – and especially your forms – accessible to everyone on the internet.

While some organizations are required to comply with federal accessibility standards (known as Section 508), there are simple practices you can follow to build accessibility into every aspect of your online forms.

After all, building forms to be accessible means building them to be used by everybody.

Here are some tips for making your online forms universally accessible:

  1. When you embed a form on your site, be sure to include a relevant and descriptive page title. (This is done automatically if your form is hosted at Cognito Forms.)
  2. Include relevant link text whenever linking from your form to another web page or anchored content area.
  3. When embedding a form on your site, be sure your page has the appropriate language attribute.
  4. Use alt text for every image. Include a description of the image in language you’d use if you were telling someone about it.
  5. Be specific about the type of content you’re looking for when writing form field instructions.
  6. Always consider the level of contrast between your type and backgrounds. (This guide can help you identify recommended contrast ratios.)
  7. Never use color as the only method to convey information. (If it seems like your only option, make that color swatch an image, and provide an alt text description.)
  8. Make sure all text is large enough to read.
  9. Avoid dropdown-style choices and signature fields.
  10. Differentiate your navigation on multipage forms. (Don’t just use “Next” for every button as this makes it easy for people to lose where they are.)
  11. Prompt your users to confirm the data they’ve entered before submitting. This can help reduce errors and resulting complications.
  12. Choose partners who have a published Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). (If you work with the federal government, schools or non-profits, you’re required to do this.)

Do you have other tips? Share them with us!

Ace E.

Ace E.

Ace is the Marketing Communications Manager for Cognito Forms. When not at the office, you can find him volunteering with the American Advertising Federation (and soon on stage with his band: the Cottontown Soul Society).