If you have concerns about accessibility and require your users to sign your forms, ensure that you use digital signatures instead of Clickwrap signatures.
Digital signatures use unique digital codes to identify a signer and authenticate the document's data. This allows for a very simple signing ceremony. Clickwrap signatures, on the other hand, do not use encryption or digital certificates for signing. The Clickwrap signing ceremony typically identifies signers through a series of questions and answers and may require users to 'echo' statements to indicate their agreement with the terms of the document. As a result, the process of completing a Clickwrap signing ceremony is more complicated than signing a form with a digital signature. Furthermore, none of the supported screen reader are capable of reading the entire Clickwrap signing ceremony.
None of the supported screen readers are able to fully read the Clickwrap signature dialog box. That means valuable signing information is not passed on to users with visual impairments. This lack of information can make the signing ceremony confusing for vision impaired users or prevent them from correctly completing the signing ceremony.
The following examples compare a typical Clickwrap signing ceremony with a digital signature signing ceremony:
As the signing ceremonies open, they appear identical. Signers are required to simply click the Sign
button. At this point, however, the content of the ceremonies begin to diverge.
In the case of the digital signature signing ceremony, the ceremony is complete once the Sign
button has been clicked. But the Clickwrap signing ceremony has only just begun. When the Sign
button is clicked, users are presented with questions designed to identify the user and text intended to ensure that the user is fully informed and accepts the terms of the agreement:
As you can see, the Clickwrap signing ceremony is more complex than the digital signature signing ceremony. Given that the screen readers cannot read all of the text in the Clickwrap signing ceremony, this additional complexity could make it impossible for users with vision disabilities to sign the form.
Exceptions to this practice
Webform Server 3.0 only supports digital signatures in Internet Explorer browsers. Later versions of Webform Server also support digital signatures in Firefox and Safari.