Guide to Guideline 2.5 Level 2 Success Criterion 1

Key terms and important concepts

input error

Any information provided by the user that is not accepted. This includes:

  1. information that is required but omitted by the user.
  2. information that is provided by the user but that falls outside the required data format or values.

Intent of this success criterion

The intent of this success criterion is to ensure that users are aware that an error has occurred. In the case of an unsucessful form submission, redisplaying the form and indicating the fields in error is insufficient for some users to perceive that an error has occured. Screen reader users, for example, will not know there was an error until they encounter one of the indicators. They may abandon the form altogether before encountering the error indicator thinking that the page simply isn't functional. This success criterion does not prohibit the use of color and text styling to enhance the identification of specific errors. It simply requires that a text message also be provided.

Techniques for addressing 2.5 L2 SC1

The following combinations of techniques are deemed to be sufficient by the WCAG Working Group for meeting success criterion 2.5 L2 SC1.

Instructions: Select the situation(s) below that match your content. Beneath it, are the option(s) that are known and documented to be sufficient for that situation. For the technology-specific techniques, see the options for the technology you are using listed immediately below.

Situation A: If information is required from the user for all input fields on a form:

Situation B: If information is required from the user for some of the input fields on a form:

Situation C: If information from the user is required to be in a specific data format or of certain values:

Technology-Specific Techniques for 2.5 L2 SC1


Editorial Note: Linked items point to the techniques in the current draft, which need additional work. Also, above titles do not match the titles in current drafts.

Optional Techniques (Advisory) for 2.5 L2 SC1

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

Additional Technology-Independent Techniques (Advisory)

Additional HTML Techniques (Advisory)

Additional CSS Techniques (Advisory)

Benefits: How 2.5 L2 SC1 helps people with disabilities

Examples of 2.5 L2 SC1

  1. Identifying errors in a form submission.

    An airline web site offers a special promotion on discounted flights. The user is asked to complete a simple form that asks for personal information such as name, address, phone number, seating preference and e-mail address. If any of the fields of the form are either not completed or completed incorrectly, a text message is displayed notifying the the user that some of the information provided has not been accepted. The message also specifies that the form will be redisplayed with incorrect fields identified by two asterisks. The user is then presented with the same form, all previously and correctly entered information is still available. The user is asked to make corrections to any form field marked with two asterisks.

    Note: This success criterion does not mean that color or text styles cannot be used to indicate errors. It simply requires that errors also be identified using text. In this example, two asterisks are used in addition to color.

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