VHA Section 508
Confirm the tab order of form fields is logical. The order in which focus appears in an
edit field or form field (either by a focus rectangle appearing or the cursor blinking)
needs to mirror the implied visual logic order of the fields. To place the items in the
correct order re-arrange the content by cutting and pasting content into a different
location. Note: If layout tables are used to represent form content, the tab order will
default from top-to-bottom and left-to-right.
An example of proper form layout would be to have the tabbing and visual order
follow a sequence of billing name, billing address, billing city, billing state, billing zip,
billing phone number and billing email address. An improper order would be to have
the sequence be billing name, shipping name, billing address, shipping address, etc.
Place fixed-size form controls such as radio buttons and checkboxes to the left of
labels. Positioning is important for low vision users to help associate controls with
their respective labels. When the controls are aligned in a straight down view it is
easier to locate the next control. Edit boxes and drop-down controls, however,
generally have varying lengths of answers and therefore the content cannot always
be lined up properly. In most cases edit boxes and drop-down controls should be
positioned to the right of the respective labels. A matching exercise is an example of
an exception to the rule. Because the answers in the drop-downs are all the same
length, one letter usually, then the control should appear to the left of the text label.
Each field needs a meaningful description so that it can be properly recognized.
Because form fields have to be in protected sections of documents and assistive
technology can only see the form field (none of the surrounding visual text), all
instructions and/or constraints must be provided in the name of the field. Depending
on the amount, it may be difficult to provide all of the necessary instruction or
constraint information in the name of the field.
To add description to a field:
1. Activate the context menu of the field.
2. Navigate to and select Properties
3. Confirm the Form Fields Options dialog appears.
4. Navigate to and activate the Add Help Text button.
5. Confirm the Form Field Help Text dialog appears.
6. Confirm the Status Bar tab is the active tab.
7. Navigate to and select the radio button to Type Your Own.