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Error suggestions

When someone makes a mistake filling in a form:
→ Give them suggestions for correcting it.

When an error is detected, suggestions for correcting the issue must be provided – unless doing that would compromise security (like giving a hint to a password for example).

On this page:


Common mistakes


This helps everyone resolve issues more easily, but especially people with cognitive disabilities who find processing information difficult.

Official wording in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

3.3.3 Error Suggestion: If an input error is automatically detected and suggestions for correction are known, then the suggestions are provided to the user, unless it would jeopardize the security or purpose of the content. (Level AA)

See the W3C’s detailed explanation of this guideline with techniques and examples.

Guidance for Design

Guidance for Web

Associating a hint with a text input field using aria-describedby

<label for="national-insurance-number">
  National Insurance number

<span id="national-insurance-number-hint">
  It’s on your National Insurance card, benefit letter, payslip or P60. For
  example, ‘QQ 12 34 56 C’.

  aria-describedby="national-insurance-number-hint national-insurance-number-error"

<span id="national-insurance-number-error">
  <span class="visually-hidden">Error:</span> Enter a National Insurance number
  in the correct format

More guidance for Web

More info



This document is in beta. Help us by reporting issues via Github or email.