Form field must not have multiple label elements

Rule ID: form-field-multiple-labels
Ruleset: axe-core 4.8
User Impact: Moderate
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (A), WCAG 2.0 (A), , Trusted Tester,

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact

Moderate
Minor
Critical

Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Low Vision
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility

Standard(s)

  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)
  • Trusted Tester

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (A)]

  • 3.3.2: MUST: Labels or Instructions

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 3.3.2: MUST: Labels or Instructions
  • 3.3.2: MUST: Labels or Instructions

Trusted Tester Guidelines

  • 5.C: MUST: The combination of the accessible name, accessible description, and other programmatic associations (e.g., table column and/or row associations) describes each input field and includes all relevant instructions and cues (textual and graphical).
  • Not specified, or not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure that only one label is assigned to a form field.

Correct markup solutions

The form-field-multiple-labels rule contains five markup patterns that pass analysis:

<label for="pass1">Label</label>
<input type="text" id="pass1" />

<textarea id="pass2" title="Label"></textarea>

<label>First Name: <input type="text" id="pass3" /></label>

<label>Choose an option:
    <select id="pass4">
        <option selected="selected">Chosen</option>
        <option>Not Selected</option>
    </select>
</label>

<label>Enter your comments:
    <textarea id="pass5"></textarea>
</label>

Caution: Screen Reader and Browser Combinations Inconsistently Support Multiple form Element Labels

The following markup examples work across the following screen reader and browser combinations documented here as of the axe-core 3.4.0 release. See Multiple Labels on a Single Input for further information on screen reader and browser testing combinations.

<input type="checkbox" id="D" aria-labelledby="E"/>
    <label for="D" aria-hidden="true">Please</label>
    <label for="D" id="E">Excuse</label>

<input type="checkbox" id="F" aria-labelledby="G H"/>
    <label for="F" id="G" aria-hidden="true">Please</label>
    <label for="F" id="H">Excuse</label>

<input type="checkbox" id="I"/>
    <label for="I" style="display:none">Please</label>
    <label for="I">Excuse</label>

Confirm the existence of one visible label per form element. to achieve correct functionality across most screen reader and browser combinations. Using the aria-hidden attribute alone is not sufficient and you need to hide additional labels using CSS.

Incorrect markup examples

The form-field-multiple-labels rule contains nine markup patterns that fail analysis:

<label for="fail1">Hi</label>
<label for="fail1">Foo</label>
<input type="text" id="fail1" />

<label for="fail2">label one</label>
<label for="fail2">label two</label>
<input type="checkbox" id="fail2" />

<label for="fail3" id="l1">label one</label>
<label for="fail3">label two</label>
<input type="checkbox" id="fail3" aria-labelledby="l1" />

<label for="fail4">First Name:</label>
<label>First Name:
    <input type="text" id="fail4" />
</label>

<label for="fail5">Choose an option:</label>
<label>Choose an option:
    <select id="fail5">
        <option selected="selected">Chosen</option>
        <option>Not Selected</option>
    </select>
</label>

<label for="fail6">Enter your comments:</label>
<label>Enter your comments:
    <textarea id="fail6"></textarea>
</label>

<label>Enter your comments:
    <label>Enter your comments:
        <textarea id="fail7"></textarea>
    </label>
</label>

<label>Enter your comments:
    <label>Enter your comments:
        <label>Enter your comments:
            <textarea id="fail8"></textarea>
        </label>
    </label>
</label>

<label for="fail9">Enter your comments:</label>
<label>Enter your comments:
    <label>Enter your comments:
        <label>Enter your comments:
            <textarea id="fail9"></textarea>
        </label>
    </label>
</label>

Why it Matters

Assigning multiple labels to the same form field can cause problems for some combinations of screen readers and browsers, and the results are inconsistent from one combination to the next. Some combinations will read the first label. Some will read the last label. Others will read both labels.

Rule Description

Ensures form field does not have multiple labels.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Ensures form field does not have multiple labels.

Resources

Refer to the complete list of axe 4.8 rules.

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