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Re: HTML Techniques: 'tabindex'

From: Doyle Burnett <dburnett@sesa.org>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 11:48:26 -0900
To: <gdeering@acslink.net.au>, Jens Meiert <jens.meiert@erde3.com>, W3C Web Content <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BBD67D0A.135C%dburnett@sesa.org>

In response to the question of button order for form submission I agree that
a standard may be useful.  However, if they were tagged properly they'd tell
the user what the given button would do (this is an easy fix).

If we're talking submission buttons and their placement with regard to the
order of importance I am not sure what the answer might be.  I would assume
that in a two button scenario (let's say, clear form and submit form), the
submit would be the most important but it implies the last thing a user
would do with regard to the form.  I am not even close to saying, we need to
tell authors/developers what order in which to place their submit buttons or
clear buttons.  But, were there to be a technique, I'd say the submit is
last in the list as it's the very last thing a user would do and therefore
in an appropriate order.

My thoughts -


Doyle Burnett
Education and Training Specialist
Multiple Disabilities Program
Special Education Service Agency

On 11/11/03 10:50 AM, "Geoff Deering" <gdeering@acslink.net.au> wrote:

> I second this question.  I would expect tabindex to flow in logical manner,
> otherwise the forms, navigation, etc would indicate by this intended
> approach to not be laid out in a logic manner.
> I have also been thinking about another usability problem that I have not
> seen addressed anywhere else, and this is the order of buttons at the end of
> forms.  It seems to me there is no standard.  Just take "Ok" and "Cancel"
> for instance.  Often they are in that order, but sometimes reverse, with no
> obvious reason.  It appears to me that the most appropriate logic to follow
> in design is to place the most affirmative action first (left to right /
> right to left depending on the direction of the language).  So that if the
> form is submission information you put "Ok" first, but if the form is
> "Delete everything on you system", you put "Cancel" first, whatever would be
> the action most likely to be firstly appropriate.  I know I have often just
> pressed the first button on the left expecting it to be the affirmative
> action and being a being disposed at times to projection rather than
> perception, I have assumed the wrong action.
> This also seems to fit in with what Jens is saying (I think); forms and
> content need to be very logical and understandable in their behaviour.
> Their should be an ease and flow, and that should only be broken when it is
> logical to do so.
> Of course, it makes sense when forms are dynamic and you are jumping fields
> that you have triggered as read-only if that form contains such data sets,
> so there are exceptions, but aren't we talking more about common law
> behaviour and what the average user expects is in the natural course of work
> and flow in navigation?
> Geoff
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jens Meiert
> Before shooting first I want to ask what purpose the 'tabindex' handling
> recommendation has, referring to the 'HTML Techniques for WCAG 2.0' [1]. In
> 9.5
> [2] it is recommended, not to use the 'tabindex' attribute to leap e.g. a
> set
> of navigation links, but in another case (see 14.1 [3]) it is illustrated to
> use 'tabindex' to change the (tab) order of form elements, what I perceive
> as questionable (and per se contradictory), not only in relation to 9.5.
> Can anyone of you please explain this to me? -- Normally I'd think it should
> be recommended just the other way around, thus allowing to jump over e.g.
> navigation links (because there should also be alternative <link /> elements
> to
> represent a site's structure, btw), but not recommending to violently change
> the order of form elements (where I only see the risk to irritate users).
> So I wonder (from Usability perspective, too), what sense the 'form case'
> (and its example from 14.1) makes:
>  <form action="#" method="post">
>     <p>
>        <input tabindex="2" type="text" name="field1" />
>        <input tabindex="1" type="text" name="field2" />
>        <input tabindex="3" type="submit" name="submit" />
>     </p>
>  </form>
> If I imagine 'field1' represents a user's email address (which is displayed
> first), ain't it 'curious' being at first asked for my name (as e.g.
> expected
> in 'field2'), when starting to access the form via pressing 'tab'? On the
> other hand I often encountered cases where I really wished there was a tab
> order allowing me to jump over a site's navigation. But, I didn't want to
> shoot
> first... ;)
> All the best,
> Jens.
> [1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/WD-WCAG20-HTML-TECHS/
> [2]
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/WD-WCAG20-HTML-TECHS/#linkgroups_tabindex
> [3] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/WD-WCAG20-HTML-TECHS/#form_tabindex
> --
> Jens Meiert
> Interface Architect
> http://meiert.com
Received on Tuesday, 11 November 2003 15:46:45 UTC

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