1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose

MCS Accessibility Team

MCS Accessibility Team
Last Updated November 19, 2020

The following directions are part of a full step-by-step guide to making a HubSpot website WCAG 2.1 AA compliant. These recommendations are intended for websites managed on the HubSpot CMS but can be adapted for other content management systems.

Principle: Perceivable
Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
Guideline: Adaptable
Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.

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.

View Official WCAG 2.1 Compliance Techniques

Understanding 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose

The purpose of each form field input is communicated to ensure assistive technology users understands what information they should be submitting in each field.

The input type attribute is definitely a good place to start for this guideline. If input type is not defined, the input will default to a text input, which poses a problem for users when trying to identify the inputs purpose. Screen readers and other assistive devices can use these type attributes to communicate the input purpose to their users. Below are just a few input types. You can see a full list of input types here.

  • tel
  • email
  • number
  • password
  • date

These input types may be accurate overall, but they're very broad, and don't describe the specific purpose or detail of requested information. For these reasons they do not, on their own, satisfy this guideline. 


An email type field specifies the need for an email, but doesn't quite narrow down whose email should be entered. 

<input type="text" name="name" placeholder="First Name">

How HubSpot Helps

HubSpot helps with this guideline by predefining autocomplete values for common contact properties.

Recommended Solutions

The HTML autocomplete attribute satisfies this guideline. This attribute has a number of well defined, very specific values that provide a detailed purpose for fields. For example, input type can specify an input is looking for a telephone number, however, that can leave visitors with the question of whether it is their business or home number. Autocomplete avoids these questions by providing more precise detail up front. Below are a few popular examples, you can view the entire list of autocomplete options here

  • Family Name = family-name
  • First Name = given-name
  • Telephone = tel
  • New Password = new-password
  • Current Password = current-password

Autocomplete attributes provide users with much more detailed information on the kind of data that the user should input. Given this information, we can update our input fields to be more accessible by making the changes in the screenshot below.

<input type="text" name="name" placeholder="First Name" autocomplete="given-name">

Including autocomplete values on all input fields also gives users with cognitive disabilities or other challenges a way to avoid typing common information repeatedly. In addition to less input, assistive programs and plugins often use autocomplete attributes to add icons and visual identifiers to fields based on their autocomplete value. 

Lastly, to add additional direction and means for identifying input purpose, designers and developers should also ensure that input labels and heading fields properly specify the purpose of the input they are associated with. 

For more information, please visit the official W3C article: Understanding 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose


Let us know if we can help you address this specific WCAG Recommendation.