Web Accessibility

Web Accessibility

Table of Contents

    The world, offline or online, can be a better place when everyone can be a part of it. Here is our first step towards creating that world for our users with the Enhanced Accessibility feature.
    Accessibility feature is available only for Standard Form Type.
    Before diving into the Enhanced Accessibility feature, let's understand the basics of accessibility.

    What is Accessibility?

    Accessibility refers to the practice of designing and developing products, services, and environments to be usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Accessibility ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to access and interact with something, removing barriers that might hinder certain individuals, and providing features and functionalities that cater to a diverse range of users with varying needs.
    For example, ramps, elevators, and wider doorways in buildings allow individuals with mobility impairments to navigate spaces freely.

    What is Web Accessibility?

    Have you ever considered how accessible your online forms are to everyone who visits your website? Accessibility is about creating an inclusive environment, ensuring everyone can access and interact with your content, regardless of their abilities. In the realm of websites and online forms, this translates to building forms that are usable by individuals with disabilities, and those using assistive technologies.
    Web accessibility encompasses a broad spectrum of elements, addressing various challenges faced by users with diverse needs:
    1. Cognitive: Focusing on making web content understandable and navigable for users with cognitive impairments or limitations.
    2. Neurological: Recognizing and accommodating users with neurological conditions to enhance their online experience.
    3. Physical: Adapting web interfaces to cater to individuals with physical disabilities, ensuring they can interact with and navigate digital content.
    4. Speech: Considering users who rely on speech input or output technologies, making web interactions seamless for them.
    5. Visual: Implementing features and designs that make online content accessible to users with visual impairments or those using assistive technologies like screen readers.
    6. Auditory: Ensuring content is accessible to individuals with hearing impairments or those who rely on alternative auditory communication methods.
    Web accessibility isn't exclusive to those with permanent disabilities; it extends its impact to a broader audience:
    1. Older IndividualsRecognizing changes in abilities over time and tailoring web experiences to accommodate the needs of older users.
    2. Temporary Disabilities: Addressing the needs of individuals with temporary disabilities, such as a broken arm, to ensure they can engage with online content effectively.

    What is WCAG Compliance?

    WCAG ( Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)  is a set of international guidelines for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities. These principles provide specific criteria and success criteria to help web developers create accessible web content, including online forms. 
    WCAG compliance for forms refers to adherence to a set of international standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to ensure online forms are accessible to users with disabilities. While visual impairments are often at the forefront of accessibility discussions, it's crucial to remember that web accessibility caters to a wider spectrum of users with various needs and abilities. For example, older people and users with cognitive disabilities might face challenges with understanding complex information, remembering instructions, or navigating intricate interfaces. 

    How does building for accessibility help everyone?

    Building for accessibility isn't just about helping people with disabilities; it creates a smoother and more user-friendly experience for everyone in everyday situations. For example, ramps are primarily designed for wheelchair users but they also help parents and caregivers pushing strollers, or anyone struggling with heavy suitcases or groceries on wheels. Similarly, closed captions on TV not only ensure that people with hearing impairments can follow the dialogue and enjoy the program, but also helps people in noisy environment to understand the context of visuals, and helps those watching it in a language that is not native to them enjoy the show. These are just a few examples of how accessibility features designed for one group of people end up creating a more inclusive and user-friendly environment for everyone. By building with accessibility in mind, we create a world where everyone can participate and thrive.

    Why making your Zoho Forms accessible matters?

    While our world is often built around the abilities of those who can walk, talk, see, hear and learn easily, 1.3 billion people live with disabilities, and a significant portion actively contribute to the workforce. The question remains: Are workplaces truly inclusive, catering to the needs of this diverse and talented population? Despite possessing remarkable talents and abilities, many people with disabilities face limitations due to a lack of appropriate tools and support.

    Here is why making your online forms accessible is important:
    1. Inclusivity: It promotes equal access to information and services on your website, fostering a more welcoming and inclusive experience for all visitors.
    2. Wider reach: By removing accessibility barriers, you open your forms to a broader audience, potentially increasing engagement and participation.
    3. Legal compliance: Many regions have regulations mandating website accessibility, and adhering to these standards can help you avoid legal complications.

    It's crucial to remember that WCAG compliance is an ongoing process requiring continuous monitoring and improvement. Regularly evaluating your forms and implementing necessary adjustments are essential to ensure they remain accessible to all users.

    Making Your Zoho Forms Accessible to Everyone

    Ensuring equal access to online forms for everyone who visits your website is an important aspect of web accessibility. 

    Challenges faced by users

    1. Individuals using screen readers: They might encounter difficulties understanding the structure and purpose of the form, leading to confusion and frustration. Inaccessible elements like missing labels or unclear error messages can further hinder the completion process.
    2. People with cognitive disabilities: Forms with unclear instructions, complex layouts, or overwhelming information overload can be difficult to comprehend and complete for individuals with cognitive limitations.
    Zoho Forms offers features and functionalities to help you create online forms that are inclusive and accessible to users with disabilities. Our easy-to-use form builder requires no great technical expertise or coding knowledge to create accessible online forms that cater to a wide audience.

    Principles of web accessibility

    There are 4 key principles for ensuring web content accessibility. Let's delve into each principle and how it applies to Zoho Forms:

    1. Perceivable: Information and User Interface (UI) must be presented in a way users can perceive.

    How it applies to Zoho Forms?
    1. Color Contrast: Enough contrast between text and background colors for users with visual impairments can be adjusted using our customizable theme builder.
    2. Images: If images are included within any form field, alternative text descriptions (alt text) for all images can be provided to clearly convey the image content.
    2. Operable: UI components and navigation must be operable.

    How it applies to Zoho Forms?
    1. Keyboard Navigation: Zoho Forms are functional using the keyboard, allowing disabled users to interact with the form effectively. Check out the keyboard shortcuts for different browsers and field types.
    2. Error Identification and Correction: Clear error messages for users to identify and correct errors are provided and these can be fully customized in form settings.

    3. Understandable: Information and the operation of the UI must be understandable.

    How it applies to Zoho Forms?
    1. Clear and Simple Language: Simple field labels and error messages that are easy to understand for users with varying cognitive abilities have been incorporated which are fully customizable by the form owner.
    2. Instructions: Instructions can be incorporated for each form field and it has been suggested in our best practices to provide clear and concise instructions and labels for all form elements.
    3. Logical Form Structure: It has been suggested to the form owner in our best practices to organize the form layout logically, with a clear flow for users to complete the form.

    4. Robust: Content must be reliable and compatible with a wide range of assistive technologies.

    How it applies to Zoho Forms?
    1. Compatibility with assistive technology: Zoho Forms is compatible with commonly used screen readers and other assistive technologies.
    Note: Zoho Forms does not offer a native screen reader, but it can be used with third-party screen readers. We recommend using standard screen readers, like Mac's VoiceOver, or Widows' Narrator to safeguard your data. 

    Enhance the accessibility of your forms by making them compatible with screen readers. A screen reader is an assistive technology for respondents with visual impairments, which help them navigate and interact with your forms smoothly by converting text into speech. 
    Build Accessible Forms

    Before you enable the Enhanced Accessibility feature in Zoho Forms 

    While building your form, keep note of the following to make your form more accessible for everyone:
    1. Ensure that the form's structure and content are optimized for screen readers, allowing users with visual impairments to access and complete the form easily.
    2. Ensure that form elements, including labels, and buttons, can be perceived by people with disabilities. 
    3. Ensure every form field has a clear and concise label associated with it. The label should describe the purpose of the field accurately, placed directly above or next to it.
    4. Provide clear and easy-to-understand instructions at the beginning of your form and any additional help text within each field. This helps users understand what information is needed and how to fill out the form correctly.
    5. Ensure that the form's instructions and error messages are clear and easy to understand. Form validation and error handling should be implemented in a way that is intuitive and informative to guide users in correcting any mistakes they make while filling out the form.
    6. Avoid using technical jargon.
    7. Arrange the form fields in a logical order that makes sense for the user flow. This ensures users can navigate through the form intuitively using the screen reader.
    Remember the 3 main pointers about creating accessible forms:
    1. Build a screen reader friendly form with clear and description labels, meaningful descriptions, and logical structure.
    2. Prioritize High-Contrast Text and Color Combinations.
    3. Intuitive Keyboard Navigation

    How to make a form accessible in Zoho Forms? - Steps to enable Enhanced Accessibility

    Enable accessibility

    You can enable Form Accessibility on both existing and new forms within Zoho Forms.

    To enable this,
    1. In your form builder, navigate to the Settings tab > Compliance & Audit > Accessibility.
    2. Choose Yes for Enhanced Accessibility.
    3. Click Save.

      Select Yes
    Once you enable the Enhanced Accessibility option, your form will become compatible with screen readers for those relying on screen readers. The screen reader announces the form element and its properties, allowing users to understand the context and interact with the form.

    How Accessibility in Zoho Forms works

    We have conducted manual testing methods, which involved utilizing assistive technologies like VoiceOver, NVDA, and Narrator, using in-browser developer tools.
    We started focusing on accessibility as a product principle in Zoho Forms. Zoho Forms strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance within its help documentation. However, we cannot guarantee the information will remain perpetually error-free, as best practices and regulations might evolve over time.
    Zoho is firmly committed to accessibility and continuously monitors the accessibility of our products to foster an inclusive experience for all users.
    While we cannot assume legal liability for the information contained within this documentation, we encourage users to report any accessibility concerns or discrepancies they encounter while using Zoho Forms. Your feedback is valuable in helping us maintain a high standard of accessibility for everyone.
    Please don't hesitate to contact Zoho Forms support if you have any questions or require further assistance.

    Know more about accessibility:
    1. Best Practises for making your forms accessible
    2. Using Accessibility Controls
    3. Keyboard accessibility shortcuts for disabled people
    4. Frequently asked questions about accessibility

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