Does in-line form validation interfere with AODA compliance?

We are designing a form for a product that must meet AODA double AA compliance. We'd also like to design a form that reduces the propensity for error. One of the ways we think we can accomplish that is by validating entries in real time.

The question that has come up is: Does inline validation interfere with screen readers?

  • 1
    A couple things to consider: first, WAI-ARIA has patterns for a lot of "rich internet application" functionality that is or should be screen-reader-friendly. Alerts or dialogs might be what you're looking for, though I haven't read up on it extensively. Second, even for your typical users, usability can be negatively affected by over-eager validation. Try to find a balance, and make sure you do your research/testing.
    – Nate Green
    Aug 5, 2016 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


Is it a web solution? If so then JAWS and NVDA support ARIA attributes which you can add to the html, and both screen readers can work with inline field validation using the correct ARIA roles, states and property attributes.

There is some good advice here on the webaim website which discusses multiple aproaches - inline validation is near the bottom of the article: http://webaim.org/techniques/formvalidation/

Inline errors

Another approach is to display the error messages within the form in the context of the form control that needs attention. This approach requires visually distinctive error messages so focus is drawn immediately to them. The error messages must be associated to their respective controls (via labeling or perhaps aria-describedby. It may be helpful to set focus to the first control that needs attention.

The advantage to the "Inline errors" approach is that the errors appear in context with their respective controls.

The disadvantage is that the user must visually scan or navigate through the form to discover the invalid controls and their respective error messages. This can take some time.

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