Although Webform Server can check user input for formatting errors when the user exits a field, Webform Server forms cannot predictively check user input for formatting errors as the user enters information within a field. If your database requires users to enter information in a particular format (such as dates in DDMMYYYY), you may want to use help messages to make this formatting information apparent to your users.
Help messages are popup messages that appear when users pass their mouse over a form item with help. You can use these help messages to explain the type of information required, or the type of formatting that is necessary. Help messages increase accessibility as they more fully describe processes. Text readers will read out the help message to users with visual disabilities, allowing them to better understand what information is required. Additionally, using help messages to provide this information allows you to provide the assistance your users need without cluttering the form's appearance with multiple labels explaining the restrictions.
The following diagram shows an example of how you can use a help message to provide both formatting information and user help:
Exceptions to this practice
The hover help messages only appear for 5 seconds at a time. These messages should be kept as concise as possible so that they are easier for users to read. This caveat applies to Webform Server forms only; it does not apply to Viewer forms embedded inside a Webform Server application.
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