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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Improving Web Accessibility: The Crucial Role of Labeling Form Inputs

At Loud Interactive, our commitment extends beyond just designing websites. We strive to make the internet a place where everyone, regardless of ability, can navigate and access information effortlessly. A key aspect of this inclusivity is ensuring web forms are accessible to all, especially for those using screen readers. But why is this so important, and how can we achieve it?


Why Proper Labeling is Essential

Form inputs without proper labels are like roads without signs: confusing and difficult to navigate. For users of screen readers, these labels act as guides, helping them understand what information belongs in each field. Moreover, labels linked to inputs make web forms easier to use for people with motor impairments by providing a larger clickable area, thereby enhancing the overall user experience.


How to Ensure Your Form Inputs Are Correctly Labeled

To make web forms accessible, here's what we recommend:

  • Use the <label> element with for and id attributes: This method is both straightforward and effective. <label for="firstname">First name:</label> <input type="text" id="firstname">

  • Wrap the <label> around the input: An alternative that's equally valid. <label>First name: <input type="text"></label>

  • Invisible labels with aria-label: Ideal for inputs represented by icons or when visual labels can't be used. <input type="text" aria-label="Search">

  • Link inputs to text elsewhere on the page with aria-labelledby: Useful for complex forms or when style constraints apply. <div id="email">Email:</div> <input type="text" aria-labelledby="email">

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Ensure every input's id is unique and the label text is clear for screen reader users. Remember, not all form elements need labels; buttons and hidden inputs are exceptions.


Further Learning

Ready to dive deeper into web accessibility? Check out these resources:

  • Deque University: Comprehensive courses on accessible forms and more. Visit Deque University

  • W3C Web Accessibility Initiative: Guidelines and tutorials on effective labeling. W3C Tutorials on Forms

  • Axe Core GitHub: Contribute to or learn from the Axe Core project. Axe Core on GitHub


Together, let's build a web that's accessible to everyone.

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