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Technique G177:Providing suggested correction text


Content that accepts user data input, with restrictions on the format, value, and/or type of the input.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to suggest correct text where the information supplied by the user is not accepted and possible correct text is known. The suggestions may include correct spelling or similar text from a known pool of possible text.

Depending on the form, suggestions could be located next to the field where the error was identified, elsewhere on the page or via a search mechanism or reference where results would be listed on another URI. Where possible, suggestions for correction should be incorporated in a way that is easy for the user. For example, an incorrect submission may return a list of possible corrections where the user can select a checkbox or radio button to indicate which option was intended. Suggestions or links to the suggestions should be placed close to the form fields they are associated with, such as at the top of the form, preceding the form fields, or next to the form fields requiring correction.


  • A form field requires the user to input a length of time that could range from days to years. The user enters the number "6". The server returns the form as the user had submitted it and also includes a suggested text next to the form field: "Error detected. Did you mean: 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years?"
  • The user enters an incorrectly spelled city name. The server returns the form as the user had submitted it and also includes a message at the top of the form informing the user of the error and a link to a list of city names that the user may have meant, as determined by comparing their original input to a database of city names.
  • A bus route trip planner allows users to enter their origin an destination, allowing users to enter street addresses, intersections and city landmarks. When a user enters "Kohl," they are prompted with a list of search results with similar matches that reads, "Your search for 'Kohl' returned the following". A select box follows the prompt lists, "Kohl Center," "Kohl's Dept. Store-East" and "Kohl's Dept. Store-West" as options the user can choose from.
  • A search runs a spell check on input and provides a link of alternatives if a spelling error is detected. When the user clicks on the link, the search is automatically resubmitted with the correct spelling.



  1. Identify form fields where correct text could be inferred from incorrect text.
  2. Fill out the form, deliberately filling in the identified form fields with incorrect text.
  3. Check that the user is presented with suggestions for the correct text.
  4. Check that the suggestions are provided next to the form field or a link to the suggestions is provided close to the form field.

Expected Results

  • Checks #3 and #4 are true.
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