3.3.2 - Labels or instructions

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.

Ways to meet the criterion

The goal is to make certain that enough information is provided for the user to accomplish the task without undue confusion, navigation or future corrections.
Place instructions or labels so that they can easily be associated with the input fields. Ensure that the labels are clear so that they users understand what data they need to input. In some cases, that requires clear instructions specifying a data format – some examples are:

  • Specific date format i.e. Date: (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Specific postal code format i.e. Postal code: (T2R 1S6)
  • Specific phone number format i.e. Phone number: (403) 555-1234
  • Specific province name format i.e. Province: (AB)

Supported general and HTML techniques to meet the criterion: