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Must all form fields be active to be perceivable?


From: Angela French
Date: May 11, 2017 4:13PM

We are planning the upgrade of an application that was built about 8 years ago to bring it up to current security and accessibility standards. There is an item of functionality that bothers me and I would like some opinions - especially the opinion of any screen reader users.

The form is used by high school students to create an account in the system. A business requirement is that each username must be unique. To that end, the first element in the form is to create a username, and all other fields are inactive (not perceivable) until a successful username has been entered and that field loses focus. At that point the rest of the form becomes active. As a sighted person, I would never bother to fill out a form without reviewing what the form would ask me and making an estimate on how long it would take me to complete it.

My question is: Is it necessary, in meeting the requirement of being "perceivable," to make all form elements active when the user first encounters the form?

Thank you

Angela French
Internet/Intranet Specialist
Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges