Forms are critical in our design system to allow users to input data, from calculators to our contact forms. Each from element in our component library is individually documented, however, this page provides the overarching guidelines when working with forms.

Key Points

Best practices

  • Only ask for the information you absolutely need
  • Place fields in order of easiest to complete first
  • Make sure it’s clear to users why you’re asking each question
  • Break longer forms into multiple steps
  • Group fields of related content together as fieldsets and use titles for the groups
  • Use the correct input type for the information you are gathering e.g. number, date, email
  • Labels should be used with every input group
  • Legend is used across a range of inputs such as radios and checkboxes
  • Radios and checkboxes should be vertically stacked
  • Don't use placeholder text, as it vanishes when the user starts typing, which can cause problems for users with memory conditions or when reviewing answers.
  • Don't ask for the same information twice in the same session (WCAG 2.2 — Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance)
  • Don't pre-selecting the radio button and checkboxes


  • Forms should be built using the correct HTML tags
  • Forms should meet our accessibility standards
  • Forms should be able to be controlled by the keyboard
  • Ensure when an item gets keyboard focus, it is at least partially visible
  • Functionality should be the browsers default
  • HTML tags will display and functionality based on the browser
  • We provide UI guidelines for form design. You must follow UX best practices for forms when putting it together.


  • Heading styles, H1-H6, can be used inside forms to section off content if required
  • Headings above groups of inputs, such as checkboxes and radios, are legends
  • Labels, helper text and error messages should use the body copy text style
  • Use sentence case for labels, helper and error text


  • Labels should be associated with the respective field
  • Labels should be between 1-4 words
  • Labels should be placed adjacent to the radio button
  • Labels can be used as a page heading if there's only one question per page
  • Don’t place labels underneath a radio button; this may affect visually impaired users and the flow of the page.
  • Use aria-label attribute to define a string value that labels an interactive element

                                                            <button aria-label="Close" onclick="myDialog.close()">

An example of how to use an 'aria-label' on a 'button' component.

Label as a heading

Label as a heading

A 'label' can be used if there's only one question per page.

                                                          <label for="reference-number">Reference number</label>

A code example of how label can be used as a page heading.


  • The legend has a specific styling (e.g. font size) depending on its hierarchy on the page
  • The legend can be used as a page title if there's only one question on the page
  • If there's page title (heading level-1 or H1), the legend would be styled as the next level down, e.g. heading level-2 or H2
Resizable legends

Resizable legends

Legend font sizes can vary depending on their hierarchy.

Helper Text

Add helper text below the legend or labels to provide supplemental information.

For visual consistency and readability, helper text should be 1-2 lines. This will be helpful for users with cognitive impairment.

Use aria-describedby to provide further instructions with form fields.

An example of helper text

An example of helper text

Use helper text to provide supplemental information.

                                                            <label for="email-address">Your email address</label>
                                                        <p id="helper-text">We'll only use this to reply to your message</p>
                                                        <input aria-describedby="helper-text" id="email-address" name="email-address" type="text">

A code example of how to use aria-describedby.

Optional text

Use the '(Optional)' suffix on a label if you require the user for optional information. Don't mark mandatory fields with an asterisk.

An example of how to use an '(Optional)' suffix

An example of how to use an '(Optional)' suffix

Spacing Values

The correct spacing indicates context to the user. The size of spacing varies to clearly group sections or elements together.

Forms should have a consistent spacing of 8px between each element needed to make up an input, label and helper/error copy.

Element Spacing

Form Element Spacing

Form Element Spacing

An 8px spacing between the label and input field or helper text.

Field Group Spacing

A field group is a combination of two or more elements, such as a label and an input. There should be a 16px spacing between field groups.

Field Group Spacing

Field Group Spacing

A 16px spacing between field groups.

Fieldset Spacing

A fieldset is a combination of two or more field groups.

Use space and headings to break long forms into fieldsets. The spacing value could increase to 32px to define each fieldsets clearly.

Fieldset Spacing

Fieldset Spacing


When asking the user to input content in a specific structure, you can use multiple input fields (fieldsets). An example of this is memorable dates, such as date of birth. We should use three separate text input fields and a legend heading.

Each product's requirements will vary, but grouped inputs should:

  • Allow the user to copy/paste data into the field group, not just a single input
  • Have a single error message across the group
  • Be able to navigated between with keyboard controls
An example of 'Date of Birth' fieldset

An example of 'Date of Birth' fieldset

Radio buttons and Checkboxes

Spacing values for radio buttons and checkboxes

Spacing values for radio buttons and checkboxes

Fieldsets & Buttons

There should be a double spacing of 32px between the last field and the button group across all breakpoints.

Fieldsets and button spacing

Fieldsets and button spacing


There should be a space of 16px between the error message and the next group of related fields.

Validation Spacing

Validation Spacing

Keyboard controls

Forms should be able to be controlled either by the keyboard or cursor. The use of correct tab indexing and input type will allow the user to more easily navigate through longer forms.