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HEADERS, FOR whom - any ID?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Sat, 04 Aug 2007 05:12:16 +0200
Message-ID: <3a1ce46735a4cbac8efd9fa0d753a557@10013.local>
To: public-html@w3.org

Maciej at one point conceded with Ian in that «more widely implemented» was a «pretty strong» argument in favour of keeping HEADERS/ID.[1] 

	The same is valid as an argument for keeping FOR/ID!

Example: The «HTML WG tasks» survey [2] has just 3 Questions. Those makes 79 checkboxes, radio buttons and textarea(s) - most of them set up like this:

	<label>The Label<input></label> 

LABEL is for accessibilty - it adds features for both blind and sighted survey takers. If you ask: Where is the FOR= attribute which links the LABEL to the INPUT with the corresponding the ID=?, then, the answer is: It is in the actual code of the survey page:

	<label for='xtasks:d1_tutdev_'><input id='xtasks:d1_tutdev_'

For average Joe to add 79 of those, is work! Especially when adding FOR/ID does not actually add anything: HTML4 states that an INPUT is implicitly linked to its parent LABEL. The answer to why the very body that spec'ed HTML4 still uses FOR/ID in simple forms, comes in a wind from Redmond: IE7 does (still) not support what it implicitly should. That FOR/ID is needed, is taken for granted to such a degree that «A List Apart» did not even mention this IE shortcoming when they wrote about accessible forms.[2] But who knows if not IE's shortcoming also do something good for users of (old) AT browsers, which (perhaps) do no support implicit LABEL linking either? That's the advantage of having become a _VISUAL_ feature: It is complicated - but we do it! (Which is why I have advocated what HTML4 itself suggests: that HEADERS/ID should also be implemented a visual feature.)

Fast forward to HTML5: «They want to remove HEADERS/ID!». 
Good! Let me count the arguments for removing FOR/ID, then: 

	1. There are better ways of making an accessible form. 
	2. Most forms with FOR/ID can be achieved without FOR/ID
	3. A form which actually needs FOR/ID should be rewritten
	4. We'll limit HTML to regular forms: we ignore complex forms.
	5. Many mistake the FOR/ID combo for (the not existing) FOR/NAME combo

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007May/1037.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/tasks83/
[3] http://www.alistapart.com/articles/prettyaccessibleforms
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Saturday, 4 August 2007 03:12:24 UTC

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