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Forms Validation

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A description of how validation patterns must be displayed within form structures.

Error Messages

Sometimes errors are unavoidable even though they are not expected. When an error happens messages are used to describe the problem, including information on how to fix and prevent said error. To keep these messages user-friendly, validation messages in forms should:

Describe the nature of the problem

Using an honest and clear language.

An empty input field with the label "Email". It has an error message below: "This field is empty"

Supply enough information to minimize mistakes

Providing examples with hints or explicit help to eliminate the possibility of errors.

An empty input field with the label "Full Name". The hint within is "e.g. John Doe". Below the input it has an error message: "This field is empty, please introduce a valid name with at least two characters"

Be given in real time

Solutions appear as the user is typing.

An input field with the label "New Password". It has a masked string within. There is a warning message below: "Weak password"

Inform about valid format rules

An input field with the label "Nick" and the content "Boton#". There is an error message below: "Valid characters are A-Z a-z 0-9 . _ -"

Prevent reiteration

Describing how to fix the error committed.

A calendar field with the label "End Date" and the content "1960-07-04". There is an error message below: "End date should not be earlier than start date"

Partial validation

This type of validation occurs on the fly, while the user fills in the form. It doesn't require the user to fill in the entire form or the form to be submitted to see it.


Forms can have inline validation. All form fields that can be checked against a set of rules while filling them in must show success or error state to the user.


There may be a case when only one indeterminate field is required in a form or fieldset. In this case, follow these guidelines:

  1. Set a mandatory mark in the fieldset title.

  2. It is recommended to include a short help text below the title. Ex: "Please enter at least one of the following fields."

  3. All fields must be marked with the corresponding validation color.

    1. Only one validation message is shown for one of the input fields in the group, preferably the first. A good help message specifies the error to the user and explains how to solve it.

    Form At Least One Field

    1. Once the validation conditions are met, the alert message disappears.

    Form At Least One Field Validation

    1. Losing focus triggers validation, unless a field in the group is already focused.

    Form At Least One Field Validation

Full validation

Forms are validated when they are submitted via the submit action. When a form is completely validated, it first runs partial validation on all of the mandatory fields. If this is successful, a service is called.


If errors occur after triggering a full form validation. List them at the top of the form, between the title and the first field of the form using an embedded error alert. It should have a descriptive text with the number of errors optionally. Each error listed should:

  • Include the label of the form, to help the user recognize the control.
  • Include an in-page link to the corresponding form control to make access easier for the users.

Additionally, when the submit action is triggered the focus must be located on the Summary. Consecutively, each time tab is pressed, focus must go through each link error.

A form with an error summary on top describing the errors below

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