Minimize User Errors


3.3.3 Error Suggestion: If an input error is automatically detected and suggestions for correction are known, then the suggestions are provided to the user, unless it would jeopardize the security or purpose of the content. (Level AA)


@@3.3.3 Minimize user errors: Identify common input errors. If an input error is detected an automatic correction is made where reilable and possible. Otherwise if suggestions for correction are known, then the suggestions are provided to the user, unless it would jeopardize the security or purpose of the content.@@

Suggestion for Priority Level


Related Glossary additions or changes

common input error
errors that have been reported or documented more then one time, or have been documented in the understanding of the Success Criteria section or have supportive techniques

What Principle and Guideline the SC falls within.

Principle 3 Understandable - Guideline 3.3: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

This is an update to 3.3.3 Error Suggestion


The intent of this success criteria is to minimize the likelihood of a user generated error prior to an error taking place, thus minimizing instances of both errors and error notifications. Success Criterion 3.3.1 provides for notification of errors. However, persons with cognitive limitations may find it difficult to understand how to correct the errors. @@Additionaly such notifications maybe distracting for users with cognative disabilites, taking focus away from tasks and task completion@@. People with @@both cognative and@@visual disabilities may not be able to figure out exactly how to correct the error. In the case of an unsuccessful form submission, @@these groups of users@@ may abandon the form because they may be unsure of how to correct the error even though they are aware that it has occurred.

If automatic correction is reilable and possible it should be implemented. If automatic correction is not possible the content author, the user agent or supported APIs should provide a description of the error along with suggestions for along with suggestions for fixing the error except when to do so would jeopardize the security or purpose of the content.

While registering for an online banking account a form requires the input of the user's birthdate. The required input format is xx/xx/xxxx with a leading zero for single digits. If a single input field with no input correction is presented. A user with a cognitive disability may enter 1/3/1996 thus tiggering a validation error. It may not be clear to the user that the required format is 01/03/1996 even if an example for instance, xx/xx/xxxx, is shown below the input field.


This Success Criterion helps users who need help preventing errors. This can include:

  • Automatic correction of required formats for input fields
  • Spelling and grammar checks

We need to minimize errors because:

  • Correcting errors before they occur will minimize the number of actions needed to complete a task or process
  • Error notifications can be confusing
  • Error notifications can distract a user from tasks and task completion

This Success Criterion helps people with many different cognitive disabilities including people with:

  • Language related disabilities
  • Memory related disabilities
  • Focus and attention related disabilities
  • Disabilities that effects executive function and decision making

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.


Working group notes

It was decided that the original COGA Success Criteria below should be broken into three separate Success Criteria - Minimize User Errors, Labels or Instructions, Identify Charges.

Prevent the user from making errors

Was: Support is provided that help users complete and check their task, that includes

(may be provided via a standard personalization mechanism) (COGA Techniques 2.9 )

In forms

  1. Use known techniques to prevent errors that are relevant to the content. All standard ways of representing information are accepted as input formats, such as different ways of writing a phone number and date formats.
  2. Documented common input errors can be corrected automatically. (example spelling mistakes)
  3. Enable and identify the default format and standards of locale and allow for change of format on labels and user input (removed use the default format and standards of locale and allow for change of format)
  4. Clear visual indicators are provided that identify what information is essential, and non-essential information is clearly differentiated from essential information.
  5. Instructions are provided if there is not a label that fully describe the control or if it is not clear were to get the required information. Instructions should explain the purpose and usage of the control. (Graphics with a text alternative may be sufficient) ( A clear instruction or information is on where 99% of your target audience understand immediately what to do)

For legal and finacial transactions

  1. Options that may disadvantage the user are only selected at the users specific request.
  2. All types of charges must be clear at the start of a transaction task.
  3. When a minimum is known for a type of charge it must be be made clear at the start of the transaction task. (from support the user)

For all content

  1. Non native content and sponsored content are clearly marked and visually differentiated by standardized techniques
  2. Clearly differentiate between facts and less substantiated opinions. Was rewritten from "Clearly differentiate between opinions and facts "