Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

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Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Formstack
/
January 14, 2020
Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

MIN
/
January 14, 2020
About the Episode
Episode Highlights
Meet our Guest

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Blog

5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

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Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

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5 Things to Do Now to Ensure Your Website Forms Are Accessible

Have you checked the accessibility of your online forms recently? Use these five tips to ensure the forms on your website are accessible to all.
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Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Collecting payments with online forms is easy, but first, you have to choose the right payment gateway. Browse the providers in our gateway credit card processing comparison chart to find the best option for your business. Then sign up for Formstack Forms, customize your payment forms, and start collecting profits in minutes.

Online Payment Gateway Comparison Chart

NOTE: These amounts reflect the monthly subscription for the payment provider. Formstack does not charge a fee to integrate with any of our payment partners.

FEATURES
Authorize.Net
Bambora
Chargify
First Data
PayPal
PayPal Pro
PayPal Payflow
Stripe
WePay
ProPay
Monthly Fees
$25
$25
$149+
Contact First Data
$0
$25
$0-$25
$0
$0
$4
Transaction Fees
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.9% + 30¢
N/A
Contact First Data
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.9% + 30¢
10¢
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.6% + 30¢
Countries
5
8
Based on payment gateway
50+
203
3
4
25
USA
USA
Currencies
11
2
23
140
25
23
25
135+
1
1
Card Types
6
13
Based on payment gateway
5
9
9
5
6
4
4
Limits
None
None
Based on payment gateway
None
$10,000
None
None
None
None
$500 per transaction
Form Payments
Recurring Billing
Mobile Payments
PSD2 Compliant

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Differently-abled people are quite clever when it comes to work-arounds just to get through their everyday lives. There are times, though, when a work-around doesn’t work.

When it comes to technology (or anything else), a disability should not limit someone from having the same access to information as anyone else—and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agrees.

Why Accessibility Matters

In the past few years, higher education has experienced a dramatic increase in legal action towards colleges and universities with non-ADA-compliant websites. Faced with stiff fines, schools have been working feverishly toward digital compliance, but in the process have discovered that eliminating accessibility barriers benefits all people who visit your website.

What’s more, 61 million adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, so when your website is fully compliant, the size of your audience increases. This is especially important if you use forms to gather information and feedback.

ccording to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability.


Related: Are your forms WCAG and Section 508 compliant?

Are your website forms accessible?

Making website forms accessible requires implementing editorial and design standards that boost user experience for differently-abled people. WebAIM is a good resource for guiding you down the road to accessibility, and you can also download The Complete Guide to Digital Accessibility Compliance for Colleges and Universities for specific information on higher education compliance.

Following the lead of higher ed, the best place to start is with a form structured to improve conversions. With a solid foundation, you can then address accessibility issues.

To get a jump on form accessibility, start with these five tips:

1. Perform an audit of your website with OmniUpdate’s free website.

accessibility scan to check pages for accessibility. As a bonus, it also checks for link, spelling, and SEO issues, too. Likewise, run the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual pages for accessibility issues. These scans will help you identify issues that both your website forms and general website pages have in relation to accessibility, giving you a starting point for your accessibility remediation.

A website accessibility checker scans for accessibility issues on your website and recommends solutions.



2. Provide overall instructions that apply to the entire form.

The easier it is for your audience to understand why they should complete a form and how to complete it, the greater the chance of receiving a larger response. Keep in mind that instructions may be read aloud by screen readers, so be as thorough as possible.

3. Label each individual field in the form.

Form instructions will tell the user how to complete a specific field. Best practices suggest providing additional instructions underneath form fields. For example, if your form field is “phone number,” you may want to include “Please include area code” as additional instruction. If you do this, make sure you format the instructions appropriately so that they will be read by a screen reader.

4. Include placeholder text.

Placeholder text is the text that appears inside the actual form field to provide the user with examples of what to input into the form. It is usually in a lower contrast color and disappears once the user inputs information into the field. For example, in the email form field, you might include a sample email address.

long form tips

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that placeholder text should not replace form field labels. Also note that while this is best practice, many older screen readers do not support placeholder text.

5. Do away with time limits on forms.

People with cognitive and dexterity issues may need more time to complete a form, so make sure you include an option that allows a user to turn off a time limit or extend it. This restriction doesn’t apply if the form is associated with a live event such as an auction or an online workshop.

Next Step: Create a Digital Accessibility Plan

These tips address immediate changes you can make regarding form accessibility, but your organization should also be considering a digital accessibility plan to ensure compliance for future forms and digital information. Like an editorial style guide, a digital accessibility plan provides content contributors with guidelines for posting accessible content. Even if you are not in higher education, a look through the schools’ accessibility plans below will give you ideas on how to structure one for your organization and what information should be included.

Remember, the ultimate goal for your website is accessibility for all. Ensuring that your forms are accessible creates engagement and provides an interactive way for all users to communicate with your organization.

About the Author

OmniUpdate logo

OmniUpdate is the definitive partner of choice among web content management system (CMS) providers in higher education. Backed by award-winning training and support, OmniUpdate’s OU Campus® CMS is the easiest to use with features and modules designed to meet higher ed’s unique needs.

Formstack
Formstack is a SaaS company with a mission to transform the way people collect information and put it to work. A variety of team members come together to compile posts under Formstack's authorship.
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