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Understanding SC 3.3.7:Redundant Entry (Level A)

In brief

Goal
Make it easier for users to complete multi-step processes.
What to do
Don't ask for the same information twice in the same session.
Why it's important
Some people with cognitive disabilities have difficulty remembering what they entered before.

Intent

The intent of this Success Criterion is to ensure that users can successfully complete multi-step processes. It reduces cognitive effort where information is asked for more than once during a process. It also reduces the need to recall information provided in a previous step.

Information that is required to be remembered for input can pose a significant barrier to users with cognitive or memory difficulties. All users experience a natural gradual mental fatigue as they proceed through steps in a process. This fatigue is accelerated by the stress of recalling information from short-term working memory. Users with learning, and cognitive disabilities are highly susceptible to mental fatigue.

Requiring people to recall information previously entered can cause them to give up or re-enter the same information incorrectly. The autocomplete feature of browsers is not considered sufficient because it is the content (the web site) that needs to provide the stored information for a redundant entry, or avoid asking for the same information again.

This Success Criterion does not add a requirement to store information between sessions. A process is defined on the basis of an activity and is not applicable when a user returns after closing a session or navigating away. However, a process can run across different domains, so if a check-out process includes a 3rd party payment provider, that would be in scope.

The term "available to select" is not prescriptive. The term allows authors to develop techniques where auto-population is not possible. It can include allowing the user to:

  • select and populate a field, including from a drop-down;
  • select text from the page and copy it into an input;
  • tick a checkbox to populate inputs with the same values as previously entered (e.g., my billing address is the same as my shipping address).

Data which is "available to select" would need to be on the same page. Ideally, it would be visible by default and closely associated with the input where the data is required. However, it could be elsewhere on a page, including within a show/hide component.

This Success Criterion does not apply if data is provided by the user with a different method, such as uploading a resume in a document format.

This Success Criterion does not impact Accessible Authentication, for which allowing auto-filling of passwords is a sufficient technique. In that case the filling is performed by the user's browser. Redundant Entry is asking for the website content to make the previous entry available, but not between sessions or for essential purposes such as asking for a password.

This criterion does not include requirements or exceptions specific to privacy or personally identifiable information (PII), but when implementing techniques such as auto-population, authors should ensure data protection when storing information even temporarily during a process. It is possible to eliminate redundant entry in ways that do not introduce additional privacy risks, but it is also possible that a poor implementation (for meeting this criterion) could leak additional PII.

There are exceptions for:

  • Essential uses of input re-entry for things like memory games which would be invalidated if the previous answers were supplied.
  • Security measures such as preventing a password string from being shown or copied. When creating a password, it should be a unique and complex string and therefore cannot be validated by the author. If the system requires the user to manually create a password that is not displayed, having users re-validate their new string is allowed as an exception.
  • When the previously entered information is no longer valid, it can be requested that the user enter that information again.

Benefits

  • Users with cognitive disabilities experience short-term, working memory difficulty. Not having to repeatedly remember particular information reduces stress and the likelihood of mistakes.
  • Users who experience difficulty forming new memories, recalling information, and other functions related to cognition can complete processes without having to unnecessarily rely on their memory.
  • Users with mobility impairments, for example using switch control or voice input, benefit from a reduced need for text entry.

Examples

  • A form requests the user’s corporate identification number (ID) in the first step of a process to purchase a new computer. In the 3rd step the user is asked to confirm that the computer will belong to the user (rather than a colleague), and re-shows the ID. It allows the user to change the ID, but defaults to the previously entered one.
  • A form on an e-commerce website allows the user to confirm that the billing address and delivery address are the same address.
  • A search results page pre-fills the search input with the previously entered search term in the same process.

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

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

Key Terms

essential

if removed, would fundamentally change the information or functionality of the content, and information and functionality cannot be achieved in another way that would conform

process

series of user actions where each action is required in order to complete an activity

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