Rule 1: Every form needs to have a clear and meaningful title in Cell A1.
This form does not have a title. Students who use screen readers may struggle knowing what the content in the form is about. They may not know the worksheet is a form at all. Always include a title to give them a prompt or queue to know what they are supposed to see.
This form has a title and gives directions on how to fill out the form. This is accessible to all readers and much easier to understand.
Rule 2: Only have one form on each worksheet
This worksheet has two forms. The key to accessibility is to make this content easy to navigate and understand. The two forms make it very difficult to get around. Screen readers will also not recognize two forms next to each other, so it is best to leave them on separate pages.
This worksheet has only one form per page.
Rule 3: Use a simple format
This form is made in a very complex format. This format and many others like it would confuse readers. Screen readers would also have a hard time conveying the information because three columns split into six. People with low vision would struggle to understand the categories and the different data in each one.
This form is made in a much simpler format and contains the same information.
Rule 4: Only shade the cells to define a section. Do not use color needlessly.
This form is inaccessible. The black line divides the fill in section from the categories. A reader with low vision or uses a screen reader, may fill in information where the black line is. Only use color for defining a section.
The colors are used only where their section is. This provides a more organized look to the form.
Accessible Data Validation in Microsoft Excel
Think of Data Validation as a way to assist people to filling out the form correctly. They act like post it notes or hints with little instructions. When using Data Validation, be sure to give a clear message and provide all relevant information.
Create your form and click in one of the fill in boxes.
Click the Data Tab, then choose Data Validation
In the Data Validation Box, choose Input Message. Then type in some instructions that will help the reader with the form. Click OK. Your end result should show a yellow square with your instructions inside it.
How to Provide Clear Error Alerts in Microsoft Excel
Choose a category you want an alert to appear for.
2. Go to the Data Tab, then click the Data Validation Button.
3. In the Data Validation Settings Tab, change them to suit your needs. In Error Alert, type in a clear message on what has to be changed in the file in order to continue with the page.
4. If the wrong information is typed into the box, your warning should appear.
Remember, if an input field is required, the user must be alerted.
This form does not have any hints or indications that all the fields need to be completed. Readers may get confused if they have to fill the whole form or not.
This form tells the reader that all fields must be filled to submit the form.
Guide to Form Controls and ActiveX Controls
While form controls like buttons, and check boxes are really cool to use, the are not ideal for accessibility. Most controls require users who can only use keyboard to go through a huge number of steps. Sometimes it can take a very long time for a person to check even one box. This must be changed. Instead of making check boxes and buttons, try creating a more accessible way for information to be submitted. One example is a dropdown menu. Another is to have the user type the information after being given a few choices.
This form has a bunch of check boxes to choose from. While this my look simple, it is actually very hard for people with disabilities to use them. It is especially hard for people who can only use keyboards as there are many steps needed to check the box.
This dropdown menu is a more accessible approach that is much easier to use.
Another option is to type out the options then have the readers type in their answers.
Another good thing to add in forms is a “Clear Form” Button. These buttons will clear the form instantly with one click.