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usage of fieldsets

From: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 18:59:03 +0100
Message-ID: <43FCA667.2050609@w3.org>
To: public-wai-eo-badtf@w3.org


There is an issue regarding the usage of fieldsets on the forms page that we need to discuss and take a decision on. Here is a brief description of the issue:

Grouping form controls with fieldsets is especially useful when using forms mode in screen readers because it put the input labels into context of an overall group of questions.

At the same time, the legend of the fieldsets are often read out loud repeatedly at each label. This can become very verbose.

Also, how extensively should the fieldsets be used/nested? The following two special cases arise on the survey form of the Demo:

 * Groups of questions are grouped into sections. For example, "1. General Information" followed by three questions that group several input controls. Currently this section heading is coded as a page header but that means it will not be read out in forms mode.

* If we do take this purist approach that everything needs to be within a fieldset, then we end up with the text area at the bottom of the page that is also nested into a fieldset (because it is a different question but composed of only one control). Isn't this exaggerated?

Note that there are other directions within <p> elements throughout the form too. To me the conclusion is that we need to rethink our usage of fieldsets and reduce the amount somewhat.

What are peoples perspective on this?


Shadi Abou-Zahra     Web Accessibility Specialist for Europe | 
Chair & Staff Contact for the Evaluation and Repair Tools WG | 
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)           http://www.w3.org/ | 
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI),   http://www.w3.org/WAI/ | 
WAI-TIES Project,                http://www.w3.org/WAI/TIES/ | 
Evaluation and Repair Tools WG,    http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/ | 
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Received on Wednesday, 22 February 2006 17:59:18 UTC

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