Users with vision impairment or disabilities typically use an assistive technology called a screen reader, which speaks to the user. A screen reader can relay information about where the cursor is displayed on the computer. The screen reader can also read the tool tips, so it is very important to include tool tips in your design.In addition to tool tips, you can use captions, object names, or custom screen reader text to clearly identify each field. You can also use text objects to indicate what kind of input is required. When indicating which fields require input, be explicit. For example, tool tip text can contain the words “Required input”.To ensure that a screen reader will work with a PDF form, each object should provide spoken information, and you must generate a tagged PDF form. If you will be creating an HTML form from the same form design, screen readers can read and speak tool tips from AHTML transformations.Keep the following design considerations in mind to assist users with vision impairment or disabilities:
• Users with vision impairment or disabilities cannot use a mouse to interact with a computer. Every function must be available using the keyboard. For most forms, the Tab and Shift+Tab keys move the cursor forward and backward through the form. Be sure to set a logical tabbing order that includes all fields and buttons.
• Many forms include administrative information that provides additional instructions to the user on how to complete the form. Use tool tips to ensure that all important information is read to the user at an appropriate time. For example, if keystrokes are required to perform a function, such as pressing the space bar to select a button or the Down Arrow key to select an item from a list box, the keystrokes should be announced to the user.
• Include enough spoken information for users to know what input is expected and how to complete the field correctly, but do not overwhelm users with redundant information.
• Add navigational buttons to the top and bottom of the form. For example, at the top of a form, you could include buttons such as Open Data File, Previous Page, and Next Page. At the bottom of the form you could include buttons such as Save Data, Email Data, Go to Top of Page, and Print.
• Smart fields can be an effective way to make some forms easier to fill. For example, a travel request form may have several rows and columns of fields. The last field in each row could check if any data was entered in the row. If the row is empty, the Tab key could jump to the next section of the form rather than continuing to tab through a number of fields that will remain empty.
• Users with vision impairment or those who are color blind may have difficulty seeing the cursor. Use appropriate colors to display objects using a color scheme selected by the user.
• Users with vision impairment typically use an assistive technology such as a magnification program. This product enlarges the cursor. Test your forms with a number of the more popular magnification programs to ensure that your forms are accessible.