Accessibility Tips Part 2

  • Keep empty form fields empty - Although I have observed the trend of inserting sample text into empty form fields as placeholders there are still websites that do this. This shouldn’t be done since most screen readers (except the very old models) are able to recognize form fields and so prompt users to enter the required information. The problem with putting placeholders inside the form fields is that screen readers usually do not even read out/mention the existence of these placeholders so that users end up not deleting them and thus end up submitting incorrect information when they simply add the right information at the beginning or the end of the placeholder. Note that this is true only for supposedly EMPTY form fields (i.e. name, address, username).
  • Acronyms and Abbreviation tags - There is nothing really wrong with using the <acronym> and <abbr> tags but it doesn’t really do much in terms of accessibility. The reason for this is that screen readers ignore these tags and do not announce its contents. So if you want the visually impaired to know the meaning of an acronym then simply use the entire name/title and place it beside the acronym during the first time it is mentioned. Do continue using these tags though for usability’s sake since it can be very useful for the sighted but forgetful users.

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