Is using JavaScript to submit a form WCAG 2.0compliant?

11 Feb 2009 - 4:28am
434 reads
Mike Padgett

Hi Marcus,

You're on the right track! What I think is happening here is that you're looking at that silly WCAG wording and thinking there's something else in there you haven't seen. It reads like a standard pre-nuptial agreement for Donald Trump, doesn't it?

The statement: "any information or functionality that is implemented in technologies that are not accessibility supported are also be available via technologies that are accessibility supported" means in practical terms that you cannot do anything in JS that you can't be done when JS is disabled or unavailable. So if you capture the submit event in such a way that *only* JS can submit the form, you're not following this statement, as I think you're probably already aware.

Now for some real-world facts:

1. WCAG "compliance" does not guarantee 'accessibility' - i.e. that everyone will be able to submit your form. Most accessibility bigwigs will agree that WCAG is flawed because it frequently (and some cases understandably) doesn't address a lot of real-world issues.

2. Javascript support across the current range of assistive technologies is at best inconsistent and at worst somewhat poor.

Therefore the simplistic, generalised but nonetheless appropriate response would be that, if you want to ensure that everyone can use your form, don't rely on Javascript to submit it :-)

If you need specialist answers to accessibility questions, it's certainly worth visiting and/or signing up!



>Hi all,
>I'm about to go into a series of form redesigns within a section of
>my company's corporate site. We've mandated that any new forms or
>form redesigns should comply with WCAG 2.0 AA recommendations.
>Most of the 2.0 criterion and techniques seem reasonably clear and
>I'm not finding it too difficult to find examples of their
>application, but I can't seem to locate a clear rule around the use
>of JavaScript to submit a form. Requirement 4 states that "4.
>Accessibility-Supported Technologies Only: Only accessibility
>supported technologies are relied upon to satisfy the success
>criteria. Any information or functionality that is implemented in
>technologies that are not accessibility supported are also be
>available via technologies that are accessibility supported." I've
>read that because most assistive technologies, as well as browsers,
>now support JavaScript, its appropriate use shouldn't be a barrier
>to satisfying the requirement. Indeed, the 2.0 guidlines include a
>number of techniques to achieve compliance based on client side
>script - see
>And criterion 2.1.1 makes it pretty clear that a form submit would
>need to be accessible from the keyboard, not just a pointing device -
>But I can't find a clear call on whether a form that uses JavaScript
>to perform the submit would be acceptable for AA compliance.
>Can anyone help me on this one?
>Thanks, Marcus
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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