ARIA: form role

The form landmark role can be used to identify a group of elements on a page that provide equivalent functionality to an HTML form.

<div role="form" id="contact-info" aria-label="Contact information">
  <!-- form content -->
</div>

This is a form that collects and saves a user's contact information.

Important: Use an HTML <form> element to contain your form controls, rather than the ARIA form role, unless you have a very good reason. The HTML <form> element is sufficient to tell assistive technologies that there is a form.

Description

The form role is a landmark used to identify a form. Landmarks can be used by assistive technology to quickly identify and navigate to large sections of the document. A form landmark identifies a region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a form when no other named landmark is appropriate (e.g. main or search).

Using the <form> element will automatically communicate a section has a role of contentinfo and a  form landmark when it has an accessible name. Developers should always prefer using the correct semantic HTML element over using ARIA.

Use the HTML <form> element if possible.  The <form> element defines a form landmark when it has an accessible name (e.g. aria-labelledby, aria-label or title). Make sure to have a unique label on each form in a document to help users understand the purpose of the form. This label should be visible to all users, not just assistive technology users. Use the search landmark instead of the form landmark when the form is used for search functionality.

Use the role="form" to identify a region of the page; do not use it to identify every form field. Even if you are using the form landmark instead of <form>, you are encouraged to use native HTML form controls like button, input, select, and textarea

Associated WAI-ARIA Roles, States, and Properties

No role specific states or properties.

Keyboard Interactions

No role specific keyboard interactions

Required JavaScript features

onsubmit
The onSubmit event handler handles the event raised when the form is submitted. Anything that is not a <form> cannot be submitted, therefore you would have to use JavaScript to build an alternative data submission mechanism, for example with XMLHTTPRequest.

Examples

<div role="form" id="send-comment" aria-label="Add a comment">
  <label for="username">Username</label>
  <input id="username" name="username" autocomplete="nickname" autocorrect="off" type="text">

  <label for="email">Email</label>
  <input id="email" name="email" autocomplete="email" autocapitalize="off" autocorrect="off" spellcheck="false" type="text">

  <label for="comment">Comment</label>
  <textarea id="comment" name="comment"></textarea>

  <input value="Comment" type="submit"> 
</div>

It is recommended to use <form> instead.

<form id="send-comment" aria-label="Add a comment">
  ....
</form>

Accessibility concerns

Use sparingly

Landmark roles are intended to identify larger overall sections of the document. Using too many landmark roles can create "noise" in screen readers, making it difficult to understand the overall layout of the page.

Inputs are not forms

You do not need to declare role="form" on every form element (inputs, text areas, selects, etc.). It should be declared on the HTML element that wraps the form elements. Ideally, use the <form> element as the wrapping element and do not declare role="form".

If a form is used to search, you should use the more specialized role="search" value.

Labeling landmarks

Each <form> element and form landmark role needs to have a label. This label will allow an assitive technology user to be able to quickly understand the purpose of the form.

There are two ways to label a form. Use the <legend> element as an immediate descendant of a <form> element. If you are using a declaration of role="form", use aria-label applied to whatever element role="form" has been declared on. Ideally, use the <form>/<legend> technique to label your forms.

Using the <form> element

<form id="address">
  <legend>Update your address</legend>
  <!-- form content -->
</form>

Using role="form"

<div role="form" id="gift-cards" aria-label="Purchase a gift card">
  <!-- form content -->
</div>

Redundant descriptions

Screen readers will announce the type of role the landmark is. Because of this, you do not need to describe what the landmark is in its label. For example, a declaration of role="form" with an of aria-label="Contact form" may be announced redundantly as, "contact form form".

Best practices

Prefer HTML

Using the <form> element will automatically communicate a section has a role of form. If at all possible, prefer using it instead.

Added benefits

Certain technologies such as browser extensions can generate lists of all landmark roles present on a page, allowing non-screen reader users to also quickly identify and navigate to large sections of the document.

Specifications

Specification Status
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1
The definition of 'ARIA Form Role' in that specification.
Recommendation
WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices
The definition of 'Role Form' in that specification.
Working Draft

Screen reader support

TBD

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: chrisdavidmills,