1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose

The purpose of each input field collecting information about the user can be programmatically determined when:

  • The input field serves a purpose identified in the Input Purposes for User Interface Components section; and
  • The content is implemented using technologies with support for identifying the expected meaning for form input data. (Level AA)


While labels or instructions provide clear information on the data that is expected by the user, programmatically providing a way to suggest the type of data expected in the form field may be useful for many users. The success criteria 1.3.5 identify input purpose even try to give some guidance on personalizing the data input.

For example, type=”tel” simply says that the user is expected to enter the phone number but this success criteria gives an opportunity to define if the telephone number to be entered is your telephone or some other persons.

While the type attribute defines the kind of data to be provided, attributes such as HTML5 autocomplete, autofill allows the user programmatically identify the data to be provided.

These properties also allow the assistive technologies to provide additional queues when the user have to enter a particular data. For example, a birthday cake adjacent to the date field represent a birthday field. This can be more appropriate when the HTML5 autocomplete attribute is set to birthday.

To ensure that this success criteria, ensure that an autocomplete attribute is specified wherever appropriate and have a value that represents the label. For example for a input text field with a label First Name can have an autocomplete value of given name. This value is independent of language of the page or label and can be understood by most users, user agents and assistive technologies.

Who benefits with 1.3.5 Identify input purpose

Many user groups benefits with this success criteria.

  • People with dexterity benefit with the selection of auto-filled values in the input field as it will be difficult for them to type.
  • People with language or memory difficulties benefit with the auto-filled values as they no need to remember the values such as complete address, zip code etc.
  • People with cerebral palsy, stroke, head injury, motor neuron disease or learning disability benefit if the assistive technologies or browser addons can provide icons along with the labels for the input fields.

Related Links

HTML5 Autocomplete

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