WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Navigation in HTML forms


From: Hadi Rangin
Date: Apr 21, 2009 9:40AM


For many years we have been recommending to use fieldset/legend elements to
make radio buttons and check boxes accessible. With this technique you
associate each
radio or checkbox item with the proper legend element so a screen reader
user always knows what group of radio or checkbox items he is dealing with.
so far so good.

On the other hand, I have been recommending to make the question surveys a
heading (h2-h6) especially in large surveys. This would allow screen reader
users to navigate easily between questions and/or skip selected questions
using screen reader heading navigation function.

Here's the problem:

Apparently, HTMl does not allow the use of header elements inside or outside
the legend element so I can't not make my radio or checkbox question a
heading in the form. See the question 3 and 4 at:


If they were using ordered list for the survey questions, there wouldn't be
a strong need to make the questions a heading because screen reader programs
offer a good navigation mechanism for lists; question numbering is hard
coded and are not coming from OL.

Here's my questions and I would be thankful if you share your feedback with
me and/or the group.

1. How many of you in particular screen reader users use the heading
navigation in a mid-size or large surveys.

2. Do you consider making survey questions a heading as a Best Practice for
mid-size or large HTML forms?
Note that in large surveys you might need to skip one or a set of survey
questions so you need a mean to easily jump over selected questions.