ACCESSIBLE SEARCH: Using aria-label to Identify Site Search for Screen Reader Users

A Row of Magnifying Glasses

As website designers and developers, we should always plan on using the native HTML methods of labeling items on a page.

Consider the humble website search form, seen on so many websites:

Website Search Form

It is easy for sighted users to understand that they can use the form to conduct a site search.

But what about visually-impaired folks who use screen readers to navigate a website? We have to provide them with a recognizable label for the search field that can be announced by a screen reader since the user cannot see the interface.

 Search form with Label


What if the designer doesn’t wants to place a visual label in the search form area in order to save space, yet still inform the screen reader users about the functionality of the search function?

Enter the aria-label.

ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), is a specification from the W3C and created to improve accessibility of applications by providing extra information to assistive technologies, such as screen readers, via attributes which could be added to HTML. [SOURCE]


Here’s how to add an aria-label as an explicit invisible label to the search form code that can accommodate screen reader users:

<input role=”search” aria-label=”Search the site here” name=”Search”>
<input type=”submit” value=”Search”>


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