Autocomplete attribute must be used correctly

Rule ID: autocomplete-valid
User Impact: Serious
WCAG: 1.3.5

Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact

Disabilities Affected

  • Attention Deficit
  • Blind
  • Low Vision
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility
  • Cognitive


  • WCAG 2.1 (AA): MUST

WCAG Success Criteria

  • 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose

Section 508 Guidelines

  • Not specified, or not applicable

Rule Description

The purpose for each common input field that collects an individual’s personal data is programmatically defined based on the list of 53 Input Purposes for User Interface Components. The autocomplete attribute values must be valid and correctly applied for screen readers to function correctly.

Why it Matters

Failure to provide autocomplete values in form fields results in inaccessible content. Screen readers do not read identified autocomplete form fields if the appropriate autocomplete attribute values are missing. Users cannot correctly navigate forms when screen readers cannot provide adequate information to the user regarding form field interaction requirements.

How to Fix the Problem

  1. Identify any form elements that accept an individual’s personal data.
  2. For each form element that accepts an individual’s personal data:
    • Check to see if the personal data is one of the 53 types identified in WCAG 2.1 Section 7 Input Purposes for User Interface Components opens in a new window.
    • Confirm that the autocomplete attribute is set with the appropriate value to identify the purpose of that UI component.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

The purpose of each input field collecting information about the user can be programmatically determined when:

  • The input field serves a purpose identified in the Input Purposes for User Interface Components section; and
  • The content is implemented using technologies with support for identifying the expected meaning for form input data.