According to the CDC, 26% of adults in the United States have some form of disability. In other countries, this figure is practically the same – a quarter of the population has any violations. Failure to make a website accessible to people with visual or cognitive impairments can lead to lost traffic, low SEO rankings, and even litigation.
Almost every website these days includes some form of some kind – whether it’s a product order form or something simpler like a contact form. Forms are often one of the most problematic parts of a website, so they deserve special attention!
Regardless of how you implement your form – with custom code or a plugin – certain guidelines and best practices must be followed to ensure that your forms are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
In this post, you will learn how to create accessible web forms for WordPress that will help you reach a wider audience, improve the website user experience, and increase revenue.
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- 1 What is website accessibility?
- 2 The importance of accessible web forms
- 3 Guidelines for creating accessible web forms
What is website accessibility?
Internet accessibility means that websites, tools and technologies are designed and developed to be used by people with disabilities. In particular, people can – perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the Internet – contribute to the Internet. ”
Navigating a website, entering information, and choosing the correct link or button can be challenging for users with visual, physical or cognitive impairments. Accessibility includes a set of best practices to make the site human-friendly:
- visually impaired using screen readers
- people with disabilities who navigate websites using the keyboard,
- with cognitive impairment,
- with color blindness,
- relying on voice search
- who do not speak English and use the services of translators,
- with temporary illnesses, such as a broken arm, who need to enter information using keystrokes.
Forms are one of the biggest accessibility issues as they can be difficult to navigate and confusing when filling out.
The importance of accessible web forms
Forms act as a bridge between you and your customers. Therefore, it is very important to ensure the accessibility of forms for people with disabilities. Here are some of the most important reasons to optimize WordPress web forms for overall accessibility.
Increase your income
Affordability will help increase your income. For example, the 2019 UK Click-Away Pound survey found that a large percentage of users with disabilities are leaving websites due to accessibility issues, taking with them more than $17 billion in potential costs.
Improving user experience
Following accessibility best practices can make a website easier to navigate and easier to read. Changes to accessibility help improve the user experience for all website visitors, not just people with disabilities.
Boost your SEO
By paying close attention to the structure of your website and making it easier to navigate, you can improve SEO by making it easier for search engines to crawl. In addition, adding descriptive “alternative text” to images, called alt tags, is critical for both visually impaired and search engines when it comes to understanding content.
Search engines give preference to content that is easily accessible to everyone. This is why accessibility will always be an important factor in SEO.
Attract a large audience
According to statistics from the European Commission, the United Nations, and other organizations, it is safe to assume that about 20% of the world’s population has some form of disability. With this in mind, implementing best practices for accessibility will attract more customers.
Guidelines for creating accessible web forms
So how do you create accessible forms for your WordPress website? Here are some guidelines.
Use a form plugin built for accessibility
If you want to save time and effort, you should use a WordPress forms plugin that already includes accessibility features. When it comes to accessible forms, one of the best plugins is Gravity Forms [/ link].
Gravity Forms is designed for accessibility. This is reflected in the latest release, which includes many important features for creating accessible forms that comply with the worldwide WCAG 2.1 AA standard.
Gravity Forms 2.5 included many accessibility improvements that elevated its relevance over other form plugins. This includes detailed feedback from a screen reader for blind or visually impaired users, and administrator area warnings about fields with accessibility issues.
But accessibility isn’t the only reason to use Gravity Forms. There are also many powerful add-ons that extend Gravity Forms to help you build powerful web applications.
Inform users about what to expect
Clarity is important for the overall user experience, not just accessibility. When creating forms, make sure they are easy to scan and that each field has clear instructions. If users find the forms confusing, they will get frustrated and leave the site.
If you have a form with multiple steps, it’s important to let users know where they are and how many steps are left. Make sure that users have the option to return to previous steps so they can change or update the information as they see fit.
Finally, give all of your buttons and links descriptive text so it’s clear what to expect when you click on them. Instead of using Click Here as your link text, use something that describes the link, such as Our Blog. It’s the same with buttons. “Send” is dry and generic, rather use something that describes the action the user is taking, such as “Subscribe” or “Send a message.”
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Field labels and descriptions
When writing labels, make sure they make sense and communicate clearly and concisely to the user what they need to fill out. For the best accessibility settings, place labels above input fields where they can be clearly seen, and do not include HTML or links as this can confuse screen readers.
Using the form plugin, you will be able to make field descriptions. These are optional, but you can use them to provide additional information about a field.
The colors used on your website are an important factor in accessibility. Color contrast is the difference in lighting between the font in the foreground and the background color. Poorly chosen colors for your shapes can make it difficult for people, especially those with visual impairments, to read them.
When it comes to WordPress, the color of the forms is usually determined by the theme, but you can change them by adding your own CSS styles. Also, remember that the instructions for the form should not mention color. For example, don’t say “press the green button to continue” as this can cause problems for color blind users.
Font size and weight are also important for accessibility. Make sure the font of the forms is clear and legible. There are several plugins, such as One Click Accessibility, that allow users to browse the site using different color combinations.
If your forms contain conditional logic, make sure it doesn’t affect accessibility. For example, never use conditional logic to hide the Submit button.
While CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA can be an important part of your anti-spam strategy, they become a nightmare when it comes to accessibility. CAPTCHAs often require users to fill in the information or select specific images on the screen. This not only degrades the user experience but also creates problems for people with cognitive and/or visual impairments.
Instead of CAPTCHAs, use alternatives like honeypot fields or privacy-focused spam plugins that don’t impact user experience. The most famous favorite in this area is Akismet.
Make sure the error messages are meaningful and clearly written. Bug reports should provide feedback on bugs or omissions and explain how to fix them. For example, instead of saying “there was an error,” you might say “your password is too short. Please enter a password of 12 or more characters. ”
Remember, your job is to help the user fill out the forms in a quick and enjoyable process. Error messages that lack information can cause anxiety and frustration.
Many disabled users cannot use the mouse, so make sure your forms can be navigated using only the tab key.
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Robust HTML markup
If you prefer to create forms from scratch, it is important to use the correct HTML, as this is what screen readers use when communicating information. For example, labels should use the <label> tag, not the <span> or <div> tags.
In addition, fields with multiple input parameters should use the <fieldset> tag because it tells screen readers which parameters belong to which field.
Web Accessibility is a practice to make your website accessible to people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Forms are one of the most important aspects of a website as they serve as a bridge between you and your customers. However, forms are also notorious for creating accessibility issues and therefore require extra attention!
Are you ready to start creating accessible forms for your WordPress website? Implementing the above strategies will outperform most other sites on the Internet, so get started today!