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Action item: Bug 300- Form embedded in table

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 12:01:28 -0400
Message-ID: <011f01c45acd$ad0e7d60$a501a8c0@deque.local>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "Jim Thatcher" <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Bug 300:
Question: what is the advice for properly labeling form controls when those controls sit in a table and the headings of the table provide visual clues
for what is to be done with the controls? How should that be marked up for assistive technology?

The first observation is that the label element cannot work because there are (assumed to be) two pieces of text associated with each form control -
(the row header and the column header). At the same time, each piece of text also goes with more than one control. Since id's are unique, the label can only be
used for one control.

The second possibility is that heading markup in the table may be adequate for assistive technology; certainly all the information would be available
if TH is used for the appropriate headings. The problem with this is that controls need to be navigated in "forms mode" and when in "forms mode" the
headings information is not announced by most text to speech technologies. (Window-Eyes regards the table as a layout table and table-navigation keys cannot be used; Home Page Reader does not permit navigation in forms mode and  table mode at the same time like JAWS does). 

The final possibility is to use the title attribute on each input control which provides information equivalent to the row and column headings. This
works for all the assistive technology tested (JAWS For Windows 5.0, Window-Eyes 4.5 and Home Page Reader 3.02). The title attribute is read in forms mode as well as one tabs from control to control  out of forms mode.  
See attached example  title-FormInTable.htm

Jim Thatcher and Sailesh Panchang

Received on Friday, 25 June 2004 12:01:29 UTC

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