Understanding SC 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.
The intention of this success criterion is to provide labels or instructions to form fields and controls which require user input. While the criterion asks for labels or instructions, it is important for the designers and content authors to decide which best suits the design and identify the form controls with their purpose.
Our best experience says, just like a medicine bottle that requires a label for its identification, every form field or control requires a visible and persistent label at all times. Secondly, the instructions can be context sensitive, can include specific data format like a character combination of a password field or date format for a date field. While giving instructions, content authors must ensure that information is not overwhelming and thus do not clutter the page or even the memory of the users.
Providing labels or instructions must not be confused with the following:
- Accessible names – They are not visible labels and they are dealt with separately in SC 4.1.2
- Descriptive labels – if the labels are not descriptive, they are dealt with in SC 2.4.6
Users who benefit
People who benefit out of clear, persistent, visible labels and/or instructions are:
I’d like to get some input please.
I’m designing a form that by default has
– a descriptive heading
– 3 input fields with hint text. Purpose of these input fields is the same
– aria labeling for fields
The number of fields can go up to 100. Every single input field would have the same label, labels were ommitted to avoid visual clutter.
I find the instructions confusing. It say that “Always provide visible labels to every form fields and controls”. Before that, in the description it suggests “content authors must ensure that information is not overwhelming and thus do not clutter the page or even the memory of the users”
I’d like to know in the instance described above do we need to add the same label for every input field?
Thanks very much in advance!
Every visible label and programmatic name must be unique to ensure that users can easily distinguish the purpose of each field. For example, using the same label name for first name and last name would create confusion for the user. It is important to follow SC 2.4.6 which requires descriptive labels.