Understanding Success Criterion 3.3.2: Labels or Instructions

Success Criterion 3.3.2 Labels or Instructions (Level A): Labels or instructions are provided when content requires user input.

Intent

The intent of this success criterion is to have content authors place instructions or labels that identify the controls in a form so that users know what input data is expected. Instructions or labels may also specify data formats for fields especially if they are out of the customary formats or if there are specific rules for correct input. Content authors may also choose to make such instructions available to users only when the individual control has focus especially when instructions are long and verbose.

The intent of this Success Criterion is not to clutter the page with unnecessary information but to provide important cues and instructions that will benefit people with disabilities. Too much information or instruction can be just as much of a hindrance as too little. The goal is to make certain that enough information is provided for the user to accomplish the task without undue confusion or navigation.

Note

When labels are provided for input objects, the input object's relationship to the label (or to redundant text serving as the label) must be programmatically determinable or available in text per 1.3.1: Info and Relationships.

Benefits

Examples

Related Resources

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Techniques

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section.

Sufficient Techniques

  1. G131: Providing descriptive labels AND one of the following:

  2. H44: Using label elements to associate text labels with form controls
  3. FLASH32: Using auto labeling to associate text labels with form controls
  4. FLASH29: Setting the label property for form components
  5. FLASH25: Labeling a form control by setting its accessible name
  6. PDF10: Providing labels for interactive form controls in PDF documents
  7. SL26: Using LabeledBy to Associate Labels and Targets in Silverlight
  8. H71: Providing a description for groups of form controls using fieldset and legend elements
  9. FLASH8: Adding a group name to the accessible name of a form control
  10. H65: Using the title attribute to identify form controls when the label element cannot be used
  11. SL8: Displaying HelpText in Silverlight User Interfaces
  12. G167: Using an adjacent button to label the purpose of a field
Note

The techniques at the end of the above list should be considered "last resort" and only used when the other techniques cannot be applied to the page. The earlier techniques are preferred because they increase accessibility to a wider user group.

Advisory Techniques

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.

Failures

The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of this Success Criterion by the WCAG Working Group.

Key Terms