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[Bug 13630] New: Better method for user-friendly help or hints

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 20:04:31 +0000
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-13630-3290@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=13630

           Summary: Better method for user-friendly help or hints
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Keywords: a11y, a11ytf
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: gcl-0039@access-research.org
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org, public-html-a11y@w3.org


HTML5 may need a better way to associate user-friendly help or hints with
elements.

There are cases where help text or hints should be available to any user, but
are not appropriate to present by default to the average user. In some cases
(e.g. the pattern attribute) the spec says that the title attribute should be
used for this purpose, but the Accessibility Task Force doesn't believe the
title attribute should be overloaded in this way. Instead, a new global
attribute called hint or helptext should be created for this purpose, or a
method analogous to the label element could allow identifying content as the
help or hint for a specified element.

Issue: How would this be presented to the user? If an element has a title and
helptext, do we really want users to have to have two separate mechanisms for
getting access to hint and helptext, perhaps two different hotkeys and two
different shortcut menu items? This suggests that there's good reason to leave
it mingled in with the content of the title attribute. On the other hand,
browsers already handle title badly, and it's hard to say whether it would be
worse to encourage long title text that some browsers will truncate or to have
another thing like title text that they may not handle at all.

Issue: Should this be an attribute, and thus limited to a simple text string,
or might it be better to define a mechanism that allowed identifying a separate
block of content as help for another element, analogous to how the details or
label elements already work? That would allow rich, styled content for the
help. It would certainly require new UI for displaying and hiding, but that
might be no worse than if we merely define a new hint attribute.

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Received on Wednesday, 3 August 2011 20:04:40 GMT

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