Chapter 3 Form Elements

Forms are used to ask users for information, or to provide interactivity to cloud applications. As with the content elements discussed in the previous chapter, you should not change the role of these elements. Furthermore, these elements must be properly typed or generated for optimal accessibility.

3.1 The Form Element

The form element is a container for the controls you may wish to display on a page. We show the structure of this element in the following code fragment:

<!-- Form controls go here. -->

3.2 The Label Element

The label element is used to give instructions to a user as to what to do when a certain control is present. It is used in conjunction with the for attribute which specifies the name of the control the label will be attached to. Here’s an example of a form with a label, which will be attached to a text box later on in this chapter.

<label for="firstNameBox">Please Enter First Name</label>
<!-- To be continued> -->

3.3 The Input Element

The input element is a self-closing element that is used in conjunctions with the type and id attributes. An example usage is as follows:

<input type="Type of control goes here" id="Name of element goes here." />

We’ll now build on our previous example containing a label as follows:

<label for="firstNameBox">Please Enter First Name</label>
<input id="firstNameBox" />
<!-- To be continued> -->

This code essentially says, “Create a label that asks for a user’s first name.” “Afterwards, create a control and attach it to this label using the id attribute.” The form is not ready to be displayed, however. This is because input controls need information about what type of control it needs to be. This will be the focus of our next section.

3.3.1 The Type Attribute on Input Elements

The type attribute specifies what type a control an input element needs to be. This needs to be specified inside of the quotation marks, after the equals sign. The following list is should serve as a reference for the values that this attribute supports.

  • <input type="button" />

    Shows a button on the screen. It is an easy way to express buttons in HTML code. (Note that there is also an HTML element, <button> </button>, which will be covered later.)

  • <input type="checkbox" />

    Shows a check box for presenting several options that the user can select. We call this the “check all that apply” scenario.

  • <input type="color" />

    It shows a color picker, depending on how each browser supports the rendering of this element. Note that this control is not very accessible to screen reader users, therefore, another of the options on this list, or another of the elements we present in this chapter, must be used.

  • <input type="date" />

    Shows a date picker that allows users to select the month, day, and year; they are supported differently among browsers, but it is fairly accessible with screen readers.

  • <input type="datetime-local" />

    Shows a date picker that also allows a user to specify the time. It is not aware of time zones. As with the date input type, browsers may render it differently.

  • <input type="email" />

    A box will be shown, which will only accept email addresses.

  • <input type="file" />

    Shows a “browse” button that, when pressed, brings up a file browser. This is usually used when applications ask users to upload a file.

  • <input type="number" />

    Shows a box where users can type numbers only. (Restrictions and validations will be covered in a later chapter.)

  • <input type="password" />

    This will render a box that will only accept password data.

  • <input type="radio" />

    Shows a radio button, which is used for selecting only one of several options you wish to provide. (We’ll cover how they should be placed on the page in a later section.)

  • <input type="range" />

    It shows a slider control in which a user can select from a specified interval (we save how you can specify more characteristics on the range input type for later).

  • <input type="reset" />

    Shows a “reset” button that can be used to clear all of the data in a form.

  • <input type="search" />

    Shows a search edit box.

  • <input type="submit" />

    This will show a submit button, useful for sending forms to company databases, for example.

  • <input type="tel" />

    Shows a box where a user can only type telephone numbers

  • <input type="text" />

    A generic text box will be shown. It accepts only one line of text.

    • <input type="time" />

      Shows a time picker.

  • <input type="url" />

          Shows a box in which a user can only type website addresses.
  • <input type="week" />

    Shows a slider-like control that allows a user to pick a week, numbered from one to fifty-two.