Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Creating accessible forms

From: Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating accessible forms

Creating an accessible form takes a minimal amount of work. The increased access that gives your users to your site makes it well worth the extra time. Just as with images and tables, Dreamweaver has accessibility features built into its form creation tools. Once you set the accessibility preferences for form elements in Dreamweaver, you are prompted from then on to set accessibility settings for form elements as you build the form. This workflow makes the process of building accessible forms quick and painless.

Creating accessible forms

Creating an accessible form takes a minimal amount of work. The increased access that gives your users to your site makes it well worth the extra time. Just as with images and tables, Dreamweaver has accessibility features built into its form creation tools. Once you set the accessibility preferences for form elements in Dreamweaver, you are prompted from then on to set accessibility settings for form elements as you build the form. This workflow makes the process of building accessible forms quick and painless.

Let's take a moment to set our form accessibility preferences and review what you can do to make forms more accessible. So I'm just going to go right up to my Preferences. On the PC, that is Edit > Preferences. On the Mac, of course, it would be Dreamweaver > Preferences. Once again, I'm going to go to my Accessibility category. I'm just going to verify that form objects is checked. Again, that is the default. So unless someone has gone in there and manually changed that, that should be the case. I'm just going to go ahead and click OK and go right back on to my page. Now what does that mean to have accessibility preferences turned on for your form? Well, what that means is that as you begin adding form elements to your page, Dreamweaver is gong to begin prompting you for certain accessibility attributes.

The best way to see that of course is to do it for yourself. So let's just jump in and do this. I have the form_practice file opened in the 12_03 directory. It's a totally blank page. So just go ahead and place your cursor anywhere on the page. What you want to do is go up to your Insert panel and focus on your Forms objects. That's what we're going to be using for the overwhelming bulk of this particular chapter. So you can just sort of set that as you're working in this chapter and forget it. We're going to be using forms a good bit. So the first thing I'm going to do is just go ahead and place a form tag on the page.

Anytime that you're building a form, that should be step number one, insert a form tag. You'll find the form tag insert icon right up here in our Insert panel. It's the very first icon in the Forms group. So it looks like a little box with a red border. I'm just going to click to insert that on my page. Now, Dreamweaver is going to display forms for you visually with this red dashed outline. That's very helpful because it allows you to make sure that all of your form elements and everything that belongs to your form is inside of the form tag. Otherwise, the form tag is invisible and you really wouldn't see it.

So this allows you to sort of visualize where your form is on the page and it makes sure all of your form elements are in the right place. Now one of the first things that we always do with a form is name it. So I'm just going to go right down here to my form ID and name this frmPractice. It's a personal choice. I always put frm on the beginning of any forms, because what we've just done is we've assigned an ID to our form tag. With frm, if I ever see that particular ID in my styles or in any JavaScript somewhere, I know that it's referencing a form.

So I always put frm on the front end of it, but again, personal choice. Now the Action would be the link to whatever processing page. We don't have a processing page so we'll have to discuss that when we create our own form. Same thing for Method. We just wanted to give our form a name. Okay, now making sure that your cursor is inside of your form, what we're going to do now is start inserting a form element on the page and see what Dreamweaver does to ensure that we have accessible form elements. So the first form element we're going to place on the page is probably the most common and that is the text field.

So I'm just going to go right beside the form tag, find text field and click to insert that. So here we have a fairly large dialog box that comes up. This is our Input Tag Accessibility Attributes. So the reason we're seeing this is because we turned on our accessibility attributes for forms. The first thing that Dreamweaver wants to know is okay, what ID do you want to give this? We're just going to go ahead and title it name. Now, what this is going to be is this is going to be the ID attribute for the input tag. The text field is a special type of an input tag. By giving this an ID, we're doing a couple of things.

Number one, we're identifying it as a unique form element, but number two the ID that we give this is often the same exact name of this column within whatever database this form might be submitted to. That'll assist anybody that's writing server- side code to match form values to the database. It's not required, but it's a really good idea that if you're working with the individual that's going to be creating the processing script for your form, just ask them what you want the ID to be for each of the input fields. Now label is the text that's going to show up beside the form. So a lot of times people will type in the text first like first name, last name, address, and then add the form element.

Through the use of this dialog box, we don't have to do that. Not only do we not have to do that, but we're getting the added accessibility benefit of placing a label on the page. So, our label for this one is going to be User name, and then a colon. Now, we have some options here about how this label is going to be related to the form element. We can either attach the label tag using a for attribute, wrap with label tag, or just don't put any label tag on at all. Well, we're going to use the for attribute, not only for this example but for the rest of our form as well. As soon as we place this on the page, I'm going to go in to code and talk about why we're going to be doing it this way.

Notice we can also position the label either before the form item or after it. That's usually going to change based on what type of form element you have. For text fields, most people are used to seeing the Before form item, so we're going to keep it that way. For Access key, we're going to leave that one blank, but that is a nice accessibility attribute if somebody is using a screen reader or other type of assistive technology. Access keys can be a sort of a nice shortcut as a way of getting into that particular form element. Tab Index is something that at a minimum you should do. That's going to tell whatever browser or user agent was processing your form which order the form element should go in if somebody tabs through the form.

That's extremely helpful and yes, forms will do that sort of on their own, but then it's up to the user agent or the browser agent to determine the order. They don't always get it exactly right. So I'm just going to put in a Tab Index of 10 and click OK. So there is our form element. As I mentioned before, I want to switch over to Code View really quickly and talk about what's going on here. Well, this is the input tag. This is our text field. Notice that the type attribute is set to text. That's what makes it a text field. Notice that we have both the name and ID attribute. They are the same as the ID attribute we gave the form element when we placed it on the page.

There is our tabindex. Now, here is the label. Now basically, the label tag is used to relate text to a form element. That lets any type of device out there know that this text applies to that form element and it can be incredibly instructive if somebody is not accessing your page visually. Now the reason that we use the for attribute and the reason that I like this so much, notice that it says label for="name". So it's looking for this ID, right here, name. It's relating those two to each other. That allows you to have the label in one place and the form element in another.

That can be extremely handy when you're laying your forms out, especially if you want your labels and your input text fields to say be beside each other or stacked on top of each other. It just separates them. The other option is to just go ahead and wrap that. Let me show you what that would look like. If you removed the for attribute and took the label tag and just surrounded the input with it, now since that's all one unit it's a little bit easier for user agents to say okay, these two are related. But from a styling standpoint, it's a lot harder for us. So that is why I personally really like to use the for attribute for the label tag.

Okay, so hopefully, that gives you a little bit of a clearer picture as to what our responsibilities are when creating forms and what we can do to make them a little bit more accessible. Other accessibility options, such as the Fieldset and Legend tags when we're dealing with forms, will be discussed as we create our forms. With that information in mind, we're now ready to create our Explore California registration form.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89461 viewers

James Williamson

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 57s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 49s
  2. 7m 50s
    1. What is Dreamweaver?
      3m 16s
    2. Learning web design
      2m 22s
    3. Current web standards
      2m 12s
  3. 43m 9s
    1. The Welcome screen
      4m 5s
    2. Windows and Mac interface differences
      2m 23s
    3. The Application toolbar
      4m 7s
    4. The Document toolbar
      4m 40s
    5. Arranging panels
      8m 19s
    6. Managing workspaces
      7m 32s
    7. The Properties Inspector
      5m 54s
    8. The Insert panel
      6m 9s
  4. 25m 45s
    1. Basic site structure
      3m 11s
    2. File naming conventions
      1m 49s
    3. Defining a new site
      4m 35s
    4. Managing sites
      4m 51s
    5. Managing files and folders
      6m 36s
    6. Working with browsers
      4m 43s
  5. 27m 21s
    1. Creating new documents
      5m 16s
    2. New document preferences
      3m 6s
    3. Setting accessibility preferences
      4m 56s
    4. Working with starter pages
      3m 46s
    5. Managing starter pages
      10m 17s
  6. 30m 2s
    1. Basic tag structure
      2m 15s
    2. Adding structure to text
      8m 20s
    3. Creating lists
      9m 59s
    4. Getting text into Dreamweaver
      5m 59s
    5. Importing Word documents
      3m 29s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding style sheets
      2m 16s
    2. The anatomy of a CSS rule
      1m 48s
    3. Setting CSS preferences
      6m 36s
    4. The CSS Styles panel
      10m 2s
    5. Controlling CSS through the Properties Inspector
      5m 14s
    6. Using the Code Navigator
      7m 21s
    7. Using CSS Enable
      6m 45s
    8. Understanding element selectors
      8m 11s
    9. Understanding class selectors
      8m 49s
    10. Understanding ID selectors
      5m 59s
    11. Understanding descendant selectors
      6m 51s
    12. Attaching external style sheets
      7m 44s
  8. 1h 47m
    1. Working with units of measurement
      7m 11s
    2. Declaring font families
      9m 39s
    3. Controlling font sizing
      9m 9s
    4. Controlling weight and style
      8m 0s
    5. Controlling line height
      8m 29s
    6. Controlling vertical spacing with margins
      12m 3s
    7. Controlling spacing with padding
      5m 39s
    8. Aligning text
      8m 26s
    9. Transforming text
      5m 36s
    10. Writing global styles
      15m 42s
    11. Writing targeted styles
      17m 37s
  9. 1h 32m
    1. Understanding image types
      5m 3s
    2. Managing assets in Dreamweaver
      12m 51s
    3. Setting image accessibility preferences
      4m 20s
    4. Setting external image editing preferences
      3m 52s
    5. Placing images on the page
      7m 37s
    6. Photoshop integration
      5m 54s
    7. Modifying Smart Objects
      5m 51s
    8. Alternate Photoshop workflows
      8m 8s
    9. Modifying image properties
      11m 14s
    10. Styling images with CSS
      7m 11s
    11. Using background graphics
      9m 3s
    12. Positioning background graphics
      11m 6s
  10. 55m 16s
    1. Link basics
      3m 37s
    2. Setting site linking preferences
      2m 14s
    3. Creating links in Dreamweaver
      11m 1s
    4. Absolute links
      5m 8s
    5. Using named anchors
      11m 19s
    6. Linking to named anchors in external files
      2m 44s
    7. Creating an email link
      5m 24s
    8. Creating CSS-based rollovers
      13m 49s
  11. 1h 34m
    1. CSS structuring basics
      2m 56s
    2. The Box Model
      13m 21s
    3. Understanding floats
      6m 53s
    4. Clearing and containing floats
      8m 56s
    5. Using relative positioning
      4m 8s
    6. Using absolute positioning
      7m 18s
    7. Creating structure with div tags
      12m 7s
    8. Styling basic structure
      10m 34s
    9. Creating a two-column layout
      10m 37s
    10. Using Live View and CSS Inspect
      7m 51s
    11. Using Browser Lab
      9m 39s
  12. 56m 22s
    1. Reviewing table structure
      7m 41s
    2. Importing tabular data
      5m 13s
    3. Creating accessible tables
      9m 56s
    4. Using thead and tbody tags
      4m 0s
    5. Basic table styling
      8m 45s
    6. Styling table headers
      7m 52s
    7. Styling column groups
      4m 22s
    8. Creating custom table borders
      5m 1s
    9. Styling table captions
      3m 32s
  13. 1h 43m
    1. How forms work
      3m 0s
    2. Reviewing form design
      3m 2s
    3. Creating accessible forms
      7m 33s
    4. Setting form properties
      4m 6s
    5. The fieldset and legend tags
      4m 32s
    6. Inserting text fields
      5m 58s
    7. Inserting list menu items
      5m 26s
    8. Inserting checkboxes
      7m 50s
    9. Inserting radio button groups
      6m 22s
    10. Inserting text areas
      4m 12s
    11. Inserting submit buttons
      3m 37s
    12. Basic form styling
      12m 0s
    13. Form element styling
      8m 52s
    14. Styling form layout
      11m 49s
    15. Adding form interactivity
      2m 47s
    16. Using Spry validation widgets
      12m 49s
  14. 1h 23m
    1. Planning for templates
      10m 51s
    2. Creating a new template
      10m 37s
    3. Using editable attributes
      13m 43s
    4. Creating optional regions
      6m 23s
    5. Creating new pages from a template
      9m 17s
    6. Applying templates to existing pages
      6m 9s
    7. Working with nested templates
      7m 56s
    8. Working with repeating regions
      12m 58s
    9. Modifying templates
      5m 41s
  15. 40m 14s
    1. Behaviors overview
      3m 47s
    2. Hiding and showing elements
      9m 18s
    3. Spry overview
      4m 4s
    4. Using Spry widgets
      11m 36s
    5. Adding Spry effects
      3m 6s
    6. Using the Widget Browser
      8m 23s
  16. 28m 18s
    1. Inserting Flash files
      5m 4s
    2. Setting properties for Flash
      6m 27s
    3. Dreamweaver and Flash integration
      6m 6s
    4. Encoding Flash video
      6m 10s
    5. Adding Flash video
      4m 31s
  17. 45m 28s
    1. Running site-wide reports
      6m 33s
    2. Checking for broken links
      5m 41s
    3. Checking for browser compatibility
      8m 3s
    4. Adding remote servers
      8m 0s
    5. Uploading files
      7m 20s
    6. Managing remote sites
      9m 51s
  18. 34s
    1. Goodbye

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.