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RE: HTML Techniques: 'tabindex' (Order of Buttons)

From: Geoff Deering <gdeering@acslink.net.au>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 08:52:56 +1100
To: "Doyle Burnett" <dburnett@sesa.org>, "Jens Meiert" <jens.meiert@erde3.com>, "W3C Web Content" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NBBBJPNFCLNLAADCLFJBOEHOFEAA.gdeering@acslink.net.au>

I'm referring to what I think many users would experience, lets call it the
"Homer Simpson" mode of clicking on web forms, I pay attention to filling in
the form, and when it comes to clicking the submit button I change mode and
unconsciously click the button on the foremost left, as I do 90% of the
time.  When it is the wrong choice, which I realise a second or two later,
too late, "Doh!!".  It's just human conditioning of habit, be it lack of
conscious effort, whatever, but I think this condition happens frequently in
human beings and maybe that can be identified and addressed in the design.
If we were all very conscious and aware all the time it would not be an
issue.  It's a case of not properly cognising and presuming.  I do it more
frequently that I wish and often come to question my own level of

I think this is part of usability; identifying habitual patterns, whether
they be positive or negative and designing for them (where possible).

Actually our good friend J Nielsen reported in one of his Alertboxes some
years back that maybe the "Clear Form" button should be removed because
users were mistakenly pressing it and clearing forms.  I've done it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Doyle Burnett

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 -

Received on Tuesday, 11 November 2003 16:54:00 UTC

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