New Rule: WCAG 3.3.7 Redundant Entry, Level A.
In WCAG 2.2, it established a new rule called [3.3.7 Redundant Entry (A)], which is aimed at minimizing the need for users to enter the same information repeatedly. In other words, “a website should not re-prompt the user to enter information it previously asked for. The website should not fail to leverage the user’s prior work which they spent energy in providing” – UI Trap Cards.
The Impacts on Usability
Impact 1: Don’t violate a user’s ability to be efficient
When a system re-prompts users for information it previously gathered or fails to leverage the users’ prior work, it violates the usability principle of Efficiency. Efficiency in usability refers to enabling users to complete tasks in the quickest manner possible with the least amount of effort. By not utilizing previously entered information, the system is essentially making the user perform additional, unnecessary work, which hampers the efficiency of the user experience. This principle is crucial as it directly impacts user satisfaction and the overall effectiveness of the system.
In today’s digital age, efficiency is everything. Any source of friction can “block” a user in there tracks and will eventually frustrate them so much that they will leave. For some users with cognitive disabilities, this may be so cumbersome a user may just leave altogether.
Impact 2: Forcing a user to have to remember details all over again
This situation also goes against a simple rule called “Recognition rather than Recall” from Jakob Nielsen’s guide. This rule says that systems should help users by showing them choices instead of making them remember things. For example, imagine you’re using an e-commerce app to buy a new shirt. You found a shirt you liked, navigated away from the page, and now you want to find it again. You would have to recall details about the shirt to find it again, making the process more cognitively demanding and time-consuming.
This applies to data as well. When a system doesn’t keep and reuse the info users gave before, it makes users remember any information they typed all over again instead of just remembering it for the user. This makes it harder for users and might cause mistakes or make users less satisfied.
An example of this failure online
Failure 1: Shipping and Billing information are asked twice
Users may be asked to enter the same address for both shipping and billing purposes separately, even when they are the same.
Failure 2: Bad tech support
Users when chatting with customer support via telephone are asked to give an account number. They’re then transferred to a different support agent and all over again users have to supply the account information again. It would be quite annoying if you’re transferred multiple times and each time you’re asked to supply the same information such as the account number and repeat your name and problem all over again.
What you should do
Adhering to the 3.3.7 Redundant Entry (A) guideline requires a thoughtful approach. Here are a few steps to get started:
- Implement auto-fill features wherever applicable.
- Retain user data from previous interactions, allowing them to easily complete forms without re-entering information.
- Utilize cookies or local storage to temporarily save data that can be auto-populated in subsequent interactions.
For example, the most common solution for this can be seen on e-commerce websites. All you have to do is provide a checkbox that says allows users to mark that the “Shipping and billing address are the same”
The 3.3.7 Redundant Entry (A) guideline is a testament to WCAG’s ongoing commitment to fostering a more accessible and user-friendly digital environment. This new WCAG rule takes us in the right direction when it comes to usability as a whole. By reducing the burden of redundant entry, we are one step closer to a web that is truly inclusive and easier to navigate for everyone.