Checkbox inputs with the same name attribute value must be part of a group

Rule ID: checkboxgroup
Ruleset: axe-core 3.2
User Impact: Critical
WCAG: Best practice
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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact

Disabilities Affected

  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
  • Mobility/Dexterity

Requirement(s)

  • Best Practice

WCAG Success Criteria

  • Not specified or not applicable

Section 508 Guidelines

  • Not specified or not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure all related checkboxes are grouped together using one of the following methods:

  • fieldset and legend tags
  • ARIA groups role="group" and aria-label or aria-labelledby
  • aria-labelledby that points to the same element for every checkbox in the group

Associate the labels for checkboxes by assigning an id to the input element and referencing that ID in the label element. Also group checkboxes with the fieldset and appropriate legend elements. The legend element acts as a label for the group as a whole.

Note:

VoiceOver for macOS currently has a bug in which the legend element content is not read when the fields within the fieldset element receive focus. Older versions of VoiceOver did not have this bug; we assume this is a temporary glitch that Apple will fix soon.

Example

      <fieldset>
<legend>Select one or more colors</legend>
<input type="checkbox" name="r" id="r" value="red"> <label for="r">Red</label>
<input type="checkbox" name="b" id="b" value="blue"> <label for="b">Blue</label>
<input type="checkbox" name="y" id="y" value="yellow"> <label for="y">Yellow</label></fieldset>

Select one or more colors

Why this is Important

It is often easy for sighted users to understand the purpose of a group of checkboxes based on context. This is not, however, always the case for screen reader users. Grouping checkboxes together programmatically under a clear, descriptive name eliminates the ambiguity screen reader users experience to create a more accessible product.

One limitation of the label tag is that it can be associated with only one form element. If circumstances require a more complex labeling structure, the label tag is insufficient. This is where aria-label and aria-labelledby come in. Grouping related form input elements such as checkboxes by placing a box around them visually does not group them programmatically so that screen readers can read a group label when screen reader users arrive at the group.

Rule Description

All checkbox groups must have either a proper aria-labelledby value for all group members, or a proper containing fieldset or ARIA group to associate them programmatically for screen reader users.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Ensures that all checkbox groups have a group element and that that the group designation is consistent.

Resources

Refer to the complete list of axe 3.2 rules.

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