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Title attributes

title attributes must not be used for critical information and must not repeat content that is already visible and associated with the same control or content.

Rationale

title attributes are inaccessible to keyboard users without additional Assistive Technology. They are dependent on user settings in Screen Readers and similar Assistive Technology.

Additionally they suffer from discoverability problems: pointing device users are required to hover over page elements and pause before the title tooltip displays, usually with no indication that there is additional content to be displayed.

Repeating content in visible text and title attributes can lead to content clutter and repeated phrases.

Key recommendations are:

  • Do not use the title attribute unless on a form input as title text is not well supported on links on mobile
  • Do not use title attributes and explicit labels together on form fields

Techniques

Pass:

<label for="name">Name</label>
<input type="text" id="name" name="name" />

<label for="email">Email</label>
<input type="text" id="email" name="email" />

<button type="button"><img src="/path/to/image/close.png" alt="Close" /></button>

Fail:

<input type="text" name="name" title="Name" />
<input type="text" name="email" title="Email" />

<label for="name">Name</label>
<input type="text" id="name" name="name" title="Name" />

<button type="button" title="Close"></button>

<a href="/news" title="News">News</a>

Tests

 

Procedure Expected Result Type
Search source for all uses of thetitle attribute Ensure no instances contain content that would be required by all users or content that is repeated in associated content Manual
Search source for all uses of thetitle attribute Ensure no instances contain content that is repeated within the element Automated
Search source for all ‘ Ensure that the associated form field does not have a title attribute Automated


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