Web Standards Forms for Numpties

Published 11:44 on 27 September, 2005

Ok, for any of you out there that aren’t getting this: accessible forms, written using web standards, are NOT THAT DIFFICULT. However, contrary to your own belief that you are God’s gift to web development, you will need to put in some leg-work to learn the basics.

Here’s a list of the steps you should take to acheive web standards form zen.

  • Read (and possibly memorise) Ian Lloyd's fantastic tutorial on form accessibility.
  • Build your form in XHTML alone and test it in every browser under the sun.
  • Validate your form.
  • Run your form through a good automated web accessibility checker like Watchfire WebXACT.
  • Apply sensible CSS styling to your form.
  • Repeat validation of your form (for peace of mind) and the automated accessiblity checker (also for peace of mind).
  • Check your form with styling on, styling off, in a screen-reader (or use an accessibility plug-in like Fangs for Firefox) and in as many browsers as you can lay your grubby little hands on.
  • Do a little dance.

If you’re still doing it wrong, you probably need to read that fantastic tutorial on form accessibility again. Lots of times. Until your mind bleeds.