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Re: WCAG 2.1 SC 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose - TestingMethodology


From: Mark Rogers
Date: Sep 27, 2018 3:22AM


> But for the foreseeable future, I personally am anticipating seeing either autocomplete (Pass)
> or nothing (Fail).

Doesn't the failure only happen when the input field purpose matches one of the input purposes listed:
Otherwise, any form input fields that don't match any of the 40+ input purposes always fail (e.g. a Grade Point Average input field). I don't think autocomplete='on' counts as a pass, because ‘on' is the default if autocomplete is not specified, and means user agents use heuristics to guess the input type which seems at odds with the SC.

I think having more documented successes and failures would help clarify this.

Is this password reset form with old and new passwords without autocomplete a fail of this SC?
<label>Old Password: <input type="password" name="old_password" ></label>
<label>New Password: <input type="password" name="new_password" ></label>

Is this password reset form with old and new passwords and autocomplete='on' a fail of this SC?
<label>Old Password: <input type="password" name="old_password" autocomplete="on" ></label>
<label>New Password: <input type="password" name="new_password" autocomplete="on" ></label>

Is this password reset form with old and new passwords and matching autocomplete tokens a pass of this SC?
<label>Old Password: <input type="password" name="old_password" autocomplete="current-password" ></label>
<label>New Password: <input type="password" name="new_password" autocomplete="new-password" ></label>

Is this a pass of the SC, given there's no matching input purpose?
<label>Grade Point Average: <input type="number" name="gpa" ></label>

Best Regards

Mark Rogers - <EMAIL REMOVED> <mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> >
PowerMapper Software Ltd - www.powermapper.com
Registered in Scotland No 362274 Quartermile 2 Edinburgh EH3 9GL

From: John Foliot < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Date: Thursday, 27 September 2018 at 08:49
To: Mark Rogers < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] WCAG 2.1 SC 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose - TestingMethodology

Hi Avik, Having been quite involved in the evolution of this SC, I can offer you my (rather in formed) opinion. (Apologies in advance for the length of this email) Understanding the purpose of this SC is the first important step. The clue is in the numbering: it is a 1.x.x SC (perceivable), as opposed to a 2.x.x SC (operable) or 3.x.x SC (understandable). The goal of this SC is to make those inputs *capable* of personalization, so that people with different types of cognitive issue could "transform" (and be careful there, that is a broad and loosely defined concept) the inputs (and labels) into different presentation modes or modalities. The easiest possible solution there would be to transform text labels into icons/symbols for users with reading issues or who use symbol-based communication as part of their personal communication strategy, *so that they can perceive the purpose of the input* . So the goal is to "tag" the inputs with a common, tightly defined token value, so that the purpose of the input can be machine determined. To accomplish that, we need to have a schema of metadata values (the unambiguous token values) that can be attached at the element level: *in other words, at the highest level we needed to attach a specific, previously defined token value to the element, using an attribute.* Form inputs can take a number of different attributes already: type, name, id, aria-*, class, etc. However, almost all of the current attributes that can be attached to an input element either take a string text value (name="segundo nombre" , id="1d7rw9") or boolean values (aria-required="true"). What we needed however was an attribute that instead took from a fixed and defined list of token values, yet at the same time, the W3C group (AGWG - Accessible Guidelines Working Group) did not have the mandate to 'invent' our own new attribute or taxonomy. (I won't go into the why of that, but we couldn't). So... At one point, there was an exploration of using the microdata syntax ( https://www.w3.org/TR/microdata/) and values found at Schema.org, but we discovered that there weren't all of the taxonomy values we needed at schema.org at this time, and the authoring syntax of microdata is somewhat 'heavy'. Similar investigations also looked at using RDFa and other metadata markup techniques. But one possible solution, one that already had all the piece-parts we required, was the somewhat newly minted autocomplete attribute from HTML5. It was an attribute intended to be added to form inputs. It only is 'allowed' to take from one of 40+ token values, and each of those token values was already unambiguously defined, so that machines "know" without question the purpose of the input, even if it's accessible name - the label - is more ambiguous, or is written in a non-English language. As the added bonus, that attribute *ALSO* has some additional machine 'translation'/functionality today: because the browser knows beyond any doubt what the input is for, it can now offer up a proposed value string to insert into the input field - the "autofilling" part. And so while the autofilling functionality appears to be the value outcome of using the autocomplete attribute, the real value *with regard to this SC* is actually at a slightly higher, conceptual level: we're now tagged the inputs with clearly defined taxonomy terms that machines can further act upon, whether that's provide hints and the ability to autocomplete the input, or unambiguously convert a text label to an icon. Do we have the tools today to do all that? Sorta. Of course, the fact that browsers do *something* with the metadata taxonomical term that is the token value used with that attribute, it was sufficient evidence of a machine-readable value transforming the element (the input goes from blank to filled) and was thus enough to be published as a SC. However, there are also a few experimental browser extensions that perform *other* functions beyond just autofilling the inputs, and it is anticipated that now that web content will start to adopt the metadata schema that *is* the autocomplete token values, that other tools will start to emerge that takes advantage of that fact. Today then, the principle technique for meeting SC 1.3.5 then is to use autocomplete. However, in the future, the door has been left open that other similar metadata taxonomies could also stand in. (Conceptually, think of it this way: the original method of adding a textual alternative to an image is to use the alt attribute, but today we can now also use aria-label and aria-labelledby to achieve the same functional outcome. For SC 1.3.5, @autocomplete is the "alt attribute technique" for meeting this SC today, but in the future we may have alternative "aria-* -like" mechanisms as well.) You also asked about testing. While it is true that native support in browsers is not complete against all of the values, there are also a number of password tools that have very good support for the "autofilling" bit (see: https://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/wiki/WCAG_2.1_Implementations/JF/research). But, more importantly, from a testing perspective what we are looking for is the *condition*, as opposed to a specific outcome. In other words, the criteria for pass or fail isn't based on functionality today, but rather via code inspection: has the form input been tagged with an attribute that takes a fixed token value that has been previously defined? (Once again, when we test for SC 1.1.1, yes, we start by looking for alt=, but we cannot stop there, as today we also test for aria-label or aria-labelledby). And while it is true today that the preferred technique for SC 1.3.5 is to use autocomplete, that isn't the end of the testing: the question you need to ask is: "*Is this input tagged with a previously defined metadata term?*" That takes code/DOM inspection. The long term goal of Personalization - the holy grail for people with cognitive issues - is to start adding additional element-level metadata to our code. But that is something of a chicken and egg problem, because we don't have any tools today that could act on the addition of that metadata, so no authors are adding the metadata; and so even if there were tools, there is no content. But because there is no content, there are no tools (and 'round and 'round we go). This is no different than when (back in the day for us old timers) we struggled with using CSS (due to lack of browser support back then), or the early days of using ARIA (when again, there was little to no support) - somebody has to blink first. And so while this SC is very limited in scope, it is also preparing authors with the notion that to meet COGA requirements, start getting ready to be adding element level metadata to our code - like you currently do with form inputs and @autocomplete. And so Avik, simply put, to test this SC today, do a code inspection on the form inputs looking for the autocomplete attribute. If there is no autocomplete attribute, then more closely examine the input element - does it have another attribute that is using a fixed token value? If yes (highly unlikely today, but in the future..) then it will pass. But for the foreseeable future, I personally am anticipating seeing either autocomplete (Pass) or nothing (Fail). (As an ancillary thought, with more forms using *all* of the autocomplete attributes, perhaps browser will expand and improve their native support for actually autofilling the forms - the "if we build it they will come" approach.) HTH JF -- *John Foliot* | Principal Accessibility Strategist Deque Systems - Accessibility for Good deque.com