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Re: WCAG 2.0 Comment: What Tells Me To label Input Controls

From: gregory j. rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 16:45:19 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "Kelly Ford" <Kelly@kellford.com>
Message-ID: <CEEMJDFDIKKPEJJLKBKJGELLCAAA.oedipus@hicom.net>
KF: Perhaps I'm missing it but in reading the WCAG 2.0 working draft I don't
see anything that makes it obvious that items like edit boxes, check boxes,
radio buttons and the rest of the input controls on web pages need to have
some sort of label however it is achieved.  To me this should be made more
explicit in the WCAG as it is a big problem faced by folks with
disabilities in using web sites.

GJR: since the type of information you are seeking is technology-specific,
in that the mechanisms differ depending upon the technology used - XHTML
versus XForms versus the use of "swing" to construct a form in java -
specific instructions/techniques will be found in the "technology specific"
layers of WCAG2

the general principle, however, is covered by WCAG2 in a number of places,
beginning with Guideline 1 "Design content that allows presentation
according to the user's needs and preferences" - it is, however, most
explicitly expressed in checkpoint 3.2: "Emphasize structure through
presentation, positioning, and labels." - quite a nice triplet, which covers
the concerns of authors ["i want it to look good"]; those for whom clear and
consistent presentation is an accessibility aid [i.e. important things are
classed in such a manner as to indicate through markup that they are
required, so that aural and visual styling can be applied to signify to the
user that the field is required]; and, of course, labeling.

however, since i share your concerns about the accessibility of HTML/XHTML
forms, and would suggest that an "interactive form" example be added to the
list of examples for WCAG2 checkpoint 3.2 - i'd propose one, but my left
hand is tired of typing for 2 - ah, hell, here goes anyway - as usual,
optional bits are enclosed in brackets:

<proposed who="gjr">
Example X: an interactive form
Use of markup to explicitly associate all form controls with [textual]
labels allows users to interact with forms with precision and confidence.
Use markup to group related form controls and to associate them with a
legend which describes the grouping.
</proposed>

pretty sad, but a start, nonetheless - note that while i used the terms
"label" and "legend" i attempted to do so in a non-technology-specific
manner (read: their plain english sense)

other checkpoints which spring to mind in which form control labeling/form
control activation should be addressed include:

1.1 - Provide  a  text equivalent for all non-text content. (rationale:
since form controls are graphically represented by graphical user agents,
they need text equivalents)

1.3 - Use markup or a data model to provide the logical structure of
content.

2.2 - Provide consistent and predictable responses to user actions.
(rationale: consistency of accesskeys, tabindicies, etc. across forms)

gregory.
Received on Tuesday, 28 August 2001 16:44:34 GMT

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