Form control has non-empty accessible name

  • Rule Type:atomic
  • Rule Id: e086e5
  • Last modified: Jun 12, 2020
  • Accessibility Requirements Mapping:
    • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value (Level: A)
      • Learn More about 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value)
      • Required for conformance to WCAG 2.0 and above on level A and above.
      • Outcome mapping:
        • Any failed outcomes: success criterion is not satisfied.
        • All passed outcomes: success criterion needs further testing.
        • An inapplicable outcome: success criterion needs further testing.

Description

This rule checks that each form field element has a non-empty accessible name.

Applicability

This rule applies to any element that is included in the accessibility tree, and that has one of the following semantic roles: checkbox, combobox (select elements), listbox, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, radio, searchbox, slider, spinbutton, switch, textbox.

Expectation

Each target element has an accessible name that is not empty ("").

Assumptions

There are currently no assumptions

Accessibility Support

  • Certain assistive technologies can be set up to ignore the title attribute, which means that to some users the title attribute will not act as an accessible name.
  • Several assistive technologies have a functionality to list all form fields on a page, including the disabled ones. Therefore this rule is still applicable to disabled form fields. If an assistive technology consistently ignores disabled form fields in all its interactions, then it is possible to have a disabled form field with no accessible name without creating accessibility issues for the user.
  • Implementation of Presentational Roles Conflict Resolution varies from one browser or assistive technology to another. Depending on this, some elements can have one of the applicable semantic roles and fail this rule with some technology but users of other technologies would not experience any accessibility issue.
  • Elements with the option role are not tested in this rule because they do not meet the definition of a User interface component. If these elements are presented as user interface components, these need to be tested separately from this rule.

Background

The list of roles in the applicability is derived by taking all the roles from WAI-ARIA Specifications that:

This rule does not map to 3.3.2 Labels or Instructions as there are sufficient techniques within 3.3.2 that don't need the elements to have an accessible name. For example "G131: Providing descriptive labels" AND "G162: Positioning labels to maximize predictability of relationships" would be sufficient.

Test Cases

Passed

Passed Example 1

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This input element has an accessible name because of its programmatic label.

<label>
	first name
	<input />
</label>

Passed Example 2

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This input element has an accessible name because of its aria-label attribute.

<div>last name</div>
<input aria-label="last name" disabled />

Passed Example 3

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This select element has an accessible name because of its programmatic label.

<label for="country">Country</label>
<select id="country">
	<option>England</option>
	<option>Scotland</option>
	<option>Wales</option>
	<option>Northern Ireland</option>
</select>

Passed Example 4

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This textarea element has an accessible name because of its aria-labelledby attribute.

<div id="country">Country</div>
<textarea aria-labelledby="country"></textarea>

Passed Example 5

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This element with a combobox role has an accessible name because of its aria-label attribute.

<div>Country</div>
<div aria-label="country" role="combobox" aria-disabled="true">England</div>

Failed

Failed Example 1

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This input element does not have an attribute that gives an accessible name to it.

<div>last name</div>
<input />

Failed Example 2

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This disabled input element does not have an attribute that gives an accessible name to it.

<input disabled />

Failed Example 3

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This input element has an empty ("") accessible name because the space in the aria-label attribute value is trimmed.

<input aria-label=" " />

Failed Example 4

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This select element has an empty ("") accessible name because the div has no text content.

<div id="country"></div>
<select aria-labelledby="country">
	<option>England</option>
</select>

Failed Example 5

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This element with a textbox role has an empty ("") accessible name. The parent label element does not give it an accessible name, this only works for native form controls.

<label>
	first name
	<div role="textbox"></div>
</label>

Failed Example 6

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This element with a textbox role has an empty ("") accessible name. The label element does not give it an accessible name, this only works for native form controls.

<label for="lastname">first name</label>
<div role="textbox" id="lastname"></div>

Inapplicable

Inapplicable Example 1

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This input element is not included in the accessibility tree because of its style attribute which sets display to none.

<input aria-label="firstname" style="display:none;" />

Inapplicable Example 2

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This input element is not included in the accessibility tree because of its aria-hidden attribute.

<input disabled aria-hidden="true" aria-label="firstname" />

Inapplicable Example 3

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This select element is not included in the accessibility tree because it is disabled and has a role attribute value of "presentation".

<select role="none" disabled>
	<option value="volvo">Volvo</option>
	<option value="saab">Saab</option>
	<option value="opel">Opel</option>
</select>

Glossary

Accessible Name

The accessible name is the programmatically determined name of a user interface element that is included in the accessibility tree.

The accessible name is calculated using the accessible name and description computation.

For native markup languages, such as HTML and SVG, additional information on how to calculate the accessible name can be found in HTML Accessibility API Mappings 1.0, Accessible Name and Description Computation (working draft) and SVG Accessibility API Mappings, Name and Description (working draft).

Note: As per the accessible name and description computation, each element always has an accessible name. When no accessible name is provided, the element will nonetheless be assigned an empty ("") one.

Note: As per the accessible name and description computation, accessible names are flat string trimmed of leading and trailing whitespace. Notably, it is not possible for a non-empty accessible name to be composed only of whitespace since these must be trimmed.

Accessibility Support for Accessible Name

  • Because the accessible name and description computation is not clear about which whitespace are considered, browsers behave differently when trimming and flattening the accessible name. For example, some browsers completely trim non-breaking spaces while some keep them in the accessible name.
  • There exists a popular browser which does not perform the same trimming and flattening depending whether the accessible name comes from content, an aria-label attribute, or an alt attribute.
  • There exists a popular browser which assign no accessible name (null) when none is provided, instead of assigned an empty accessible name ("").

Examples for Accessible Name

Note: The examples presented here are non-normative and not testable. They serve to illustrate some common pitfalls about the definition and to help implementers of ACT rules understand it.

The input elements have an accessible name of, respectively, "Billing Name" and "Billing Address". These accessible names are given by the aria-labelledby attributes and associated elements.

<div id="myBillingId">Billing</div>

<div>
	<div id="myNameId">Name</div>
	<input type="text" aria-labelledby="myBillingId myNameId" />
</div>
<div>
	<div id="myAddressId">Address</div>
	<input type="text" aria-labelledby="myBillingId myAddressId" />
</div>

This button element has an accessible name of "Share ACT rules" given by its aria-label attribute.

<button aria-label="Share ACT rules">Share</button>

This img element has an accessible name of "ACT rules" given by its alt attribute.

<img src="#" alt="ACT rules" />

The button element has an accessible name of "Share ACT rules" given by the enclosing label element (implicit label)

<label>Share ACT rules<button>Share</button></label>

The button element has an accessible name of "Share ACT rules" given by the associated label element (explicit label)

<label for="act-rules">Share ACT rules</label><button id="act-rules"></button>

This a element has an accessible name of "ACT rules" given from its content. Note that not all semantic roles allow name from content.

<a href="https://act-rules.github.io/">ACT rules</a>

This span element has an empty accessible name ("") because span does not allow name from content.

<span>ACT rules</span>

This span element has an empty accessible name ("") because span is not a labelable element.

<label>ACT rules<span></span></label>

Note: When the same element can have an accessible name from several sources, the order of precedence is: aria-labelledby, aria-label, own attributes, label element, name from content. The examples here are listed in the same order.

Note: For more examples of accessible name computation, including many tricky cases, check the Accessible Name Testable Statements.

Attribute value

The attribute value of an attribute set on an HTML element is the value that the attribute gets after being parsed and computed according to specifications. It may differ from the value that is actually written in the HTML code due to trimming whitespace or non-digits characters, default values, or case-insensitivity.

Some notable case of attribute value, among others:

  • For enumerated attributes, the attribute value is either the state of the attribute, or the keyword that maps to it; even for the default states. Thus <input type="image" /> has an attribute value of either Image Button (the state) or image (the keyword mapping to it), both formulations having the same meaning; similarly, "an input element with a type attribute value of Text" can be either <input type="text" />, <input /> (missing value default), or <input type="invalid" /> (invalid value default).
  • For boolean attributes, the attribute value is true when the attribute is present and false otherwise. Thus <button disabled>, <button disabled="disabled"> and <button disabled=""> all have a disabled attribute value of true.
  • For attributes whose value is used in a case-insensitive context, the attribute value is the lowercase version of the value written in the HTML code.
  • For attributes that accept numbers, the attribute value is the result of parsing the value written in the HTML code according to the rules for parsing this kind of number.
  • For attributes that accept sets of tokens, whether space separated or comma separated, the attribute value is the set of tokens obtained after parsing the set and, depending on the case, converting its items to lowercase (if the set is used in a case-insensitive context).
  • For aria-* attributes, the attribute value is computed as indicated in the WAI-ARIA specification.

This list is not exhaustive, and only serves as an illustration for some of the most common cases.

Included in the accessibility tree

Elements included in the accessibility tree of platform specific accessibility APIs. Elements in the accessibility tree are exposed to assistive technologies, allowing users to interact with the elements in a way that meet the requirements of the individual user.

The general rules for when elements are included in the accessibility tree are defined in the core accessibility API mappings. For native markup languages, such as HTML and SVG, additional rules for when elements are included in the accessibility tree can be found in the HTML accessibility API mappings (working draft) and the SVG accessibility API mappings (working draft).

Note: Users of assistive technologies might still be able to interact with elements that are not included in the accessibility tree. An example of this is a focusable element with an aria-hidden attribute with a value of true. Such an element could still be interacted with using sequential keyboard navigation regardless of the assistive technologies used, even though the element would not be included in the accessibility tree.

Examples for Included in the accessibility tree

Note: The examples presented here are non-normative and not testable. They serve to illustrate some common pitfalls about the definition and to help implementers of ACT rules understand it.

This span element is included in the accessibility tree (by default, elements are included in the accessibility tree).

<span>ACT rules</span>

This span element is not included in the accessibility tree because it is hidden to everybody by the CSS property.

<span style="display:none">ACT rules</span>

This span element is not included in the accessibility tree because it is explicitly removed by the aria-hidden attribute.

<span aria-hidden="true">ACT rules</span>

This span element is positioned off screen, hence is not visible, but is nonetheless included in the accessibility tree.

<span style="position: absolute; top:-9999em">ACT rules</span>

Although the span element with an id of "label" is not itself included in the accessibility tree, it still provides an accessible name to the other span, via the aria-labelledby attribute. Thus, it is still indirectly exposed to users of assistive technologies. Removing an element from the accessibility tree is not enough to remove all accessibility concerns from it since it can still be indirectly exposed.

<span id="label" style="display:none">ACT rules</span>
<span aria-labelledby="label">Accessibility Conformance Testing rules</span>

Although this input element is not included in the accessibility tree, it is still focusable, hence users of assistive technologies can still interact with it by sequential keyboard navigation. This may result in confusing situations for such users (and is in direct violation of the fourth rule of ARIA (working draft)).

<input type="text" aria-hidden="true" name="fname" />

Outcome

An outcome is a conclusion that comes from evaluating an ACT Rule on a test subject or one of its constituent test target. An outcome can be one of the three following types:

  • Inapplicable: No part of the test subject matches the applicability
  • Passed: A test target meets all expectations
  • Failed: A test target does not meet all expectations

Note: A rule has one passed or failed outcome for every test target. When there are no test targets the rule has one inapplicable outcome. This means that each test subject will have one or more outcomes.

Note: Implementations using the EARL10-Schema can express the outcome with the outcome property. In addition to passed, failed and inapplicable, EARL 1.0 also defined an incomplete outcome. While this cannot be the outcome of an ACT Rule when applied in its entirety, it often happens that rules are only partially evaluated. For example, when applicability was automated, but the expectations have to be evaluated manually. Such "interim" results can be expressed with the incomplete outcome.

Programmatic Label

Element L is a programmatic label of target element T if either:

  • T is a labeled control of L; or
  • L is referenced by ID in the aria-labelledby attribute of T.

Note: a given element may have more than one programmatic label.

Examples for Programmatic Label

The input element is a labeled control of the label element (implicit label). Therefore the label element is a programmatic label of the input element.

<label>Full name: <input type="text" name="full_name" /> </label>

The input element is a labeled control of the label element (explicit label). Therefore the label element is a programmatic label of the input element.

<label for="fname">Full name:</label> <input type="text" id="fname" name="full_name" />

The span element is referenced by the aria-labelledby attribute on the input element. Therefore, the span element is a programmatic label of the input element.

<span id="label_fname">Full name:</span> <input type="text" name="full_name" aria-labelledby="label_fname" />

Both span elements are referenced by the aria-labelledby attribute on the input element. Therefore, each span element is a programmatic label of the input element.

<span id="billing">Billing</span>
<span id="address">address</span>
<input type="text" name="billing_address" aria-labelledby="billing address" />

The span element is referenced by the aria-labelledby attribute on the input element and the input element is a labeled control of the label. Therefore, the span element and the label are each a programmatic label of the input element.

<span id="label_fname">Full name:</span>
<label>Full name: <input type="text" name="full_name" aria-labelledby="label_fname"/></label>

The div element is not labelable. Therefore, it is not a labeled control for the label element and the label element is not a programmatic label for the div element.

<label for="bond">Full name</label>
<div id="bond">My name is Bond. James Bond.</div>

The span element is referenced by the aria-labelledby attribute on the div element. Therefore, the span element is a programmatic label of the div element. Note that the aria-labelledby attribute works on any element, not just on the labelable elements.

<span id="label_fname">Full name:</span>
<div aria-labelledby="label_fname">My name is Bond. James Bond.</div>

Semantic Role

The semantic role of an element is determined by the first of these cases that applies:

  1. Conflict If the element is marked as decorative, but the element is included in the accessibility tree; or would be included in the accessibility tree when its hidden state is false, then its semantic role is its implicit role.
  2. Explicit If the element has an explicit role, then its semantic role is its explicit role.
  3. Implicit The semantic role of the element is its implicit role.

Accessibility Support for Definition of Semantic Role for Semantic Role

  • There exist popular web browsers and assistive technologies which do not correctly implement Presentational Roles Conflict Resolution. These technologies will not include in the accessibility tree elements that should be, according to Specifications. Thus, some elements that should have their semantic role fixed by case Conflict above are instead falling into case Explicit and are hidden for users of assistive technologies.
  • A similar conflict exists for focusable elements with a aria-hidden="true" attribute. The WAI ARIA specification does not explain how to solve it. Some browsers give precedence to the element being focusable (and expose it in the accessibility tree) while some give precedence to the aria-hidden attribute (and hide the element).

Useful Links


Implementations

This section is not part of the official rule. It is populated dynamically and not accounted for in the change history or the last modified date. This section will not be included in the rule when it is published on the W3C website.

ToolConsitencyCompleteReport
QualWebconsistentYesView Report
AlfaconsistentNoView Report
SortSiteconsistentNoView Report
axe-corepartially-consistentYesView Report

Acknowledgments

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