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Accessibility rule: Grouped form controls missing an accessible name, explained

Modified on: Wed, 15 Feb, 2023 at 10:59 AM

An online form may have several types of form controls, for instance, radio buttons, check boxes, or input fields. Grouping controls relating to each other makes the form easier to understand, for instance, grouping check boxes relating to a single question. 

Grouping needs to be done both visually and in the code. This check is to ensure that each form control group has an accessible name so that screen reader users can understand the group’s purpose.

Who is impacted by this barrier?

If form controls are not grouped and do not have an accessible name, screen reader users may not be able to connect relevant information presented on the form. When the accessible name is present, it is read out to the user describing the purpose of related fields such as a set of options, credit card details, or an address. This way the user can get bite-size information. Especially if the form is long or complicated, it also helps to distinguish one group of form controls from another.

How does this rule work?

Technically, this rule checks that grouping elements for form controls have an accessible name. Note that this rule is not required for WCAG conformance but is a best practice check.

More information on the grouping controls on the W3C WAI tutorials page.

More information about the check is in the technical documentation here.

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