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Technique G13:Describing what will happen before a change to a form control that causes a change of context to occur is made


Applies to all technologies.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to provide information to users about what will happen when a change to a form control results in a change of context. Because changing the value of a form control does not typically result in a change of context, it is important that authors provide instructions that make the user aware of the behavior in advance. Where possible, it is a good idea to programmatically associate the instructions describing the change with the form control itself.

The following are some examples of how to provide the instruction in different situations.

  • Provide instruction on the Web page with reading order that precedes the user interface element that causes change of context by change of setting.
  • For a multi-step process where users must complete particular steps in order to reach the user interface element where changes of setting would cause a change of context, provide the instruction as part of the process prior to the step where they would encounter the change of context.
  • In the case of an intranet where user training is required prior to the use of a Web application where user interface elements that cause changes of context when settings are changed, instruction is provided as part of the training.


  • A series of radio buttons at the top of a page include options for German, French and Spanish. Instructions precede the buttons that instruct the user that the language will be changed upon selecting an option.
  • A 50 question online survey displays one question at a time. Instructions appear at the beginning of the survey that explain that users will be taken to the next question of the survey upon selecting an answer to each question.



  • Locate content where changing the setting of a form control results in a change of context
  • Check to see that an explanation of what will happen when the control is changed is available prior to the controls activation

Expected Results

  • Check #2 is true.
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