Success Criterion 3.3.2: Labels or Instructions

Understanding Success Criterion: 

Labels or instructions are provided when content requires user input.

Accessibility Level: 
Intent of Success Criterion: 

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 Understanding Success Criterion 1.3.1 Info and Relationships.

Specific Benefits of Success Criterion: 
  • When label elements are associated with input elements the label is spoken by screen readers when the field receives focus and users with impaired motor control are helped by a larger clickable area for the control, since clicking on the label or the control will activate the control.
  • Field labels located in close proximity to the associated field assist users of screen magnifiers because the field and label are more likely to visible within the magnified area of the page.
  • Providing examples of expected data formats help users with cognitive, language and learning disabilities to enter information correctly.
  • Clearly identifying required fields prevents a keyboard only user from submitting an incomplete form and having to navigate the redisplayed form to find the uncompleted field and provide the missing information.