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Re: New internal draft of HTML techniques

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cc.usu.edu>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 12:21:51 -0400
Message-ID: <4106811F.9080109@cc.usu.edu>
Cc: "WAI GL (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Hi Michael,

I have a couple of questions about the forms section of the techniques 
document.

1. GRAPHICS USED AS FORM LABELS

Is it "allowable" to create a form label using an image? I have 
discouraged this when I teach others about Web accessibility, but I see 
that technique used quite a bit, and there are plenty of people who want 
to use the image-label technique.

For example:

<label for="yourname"><img src="img.gif" alt="Name" /></label>
<input type="text" id="yourname" />

People can argue that this satisfies the labeling requirement because 
the image has alt text. Would this be a W3C-sanctioned technique?

2. GROUPING RADIO BUTTONS AND CHECKBOXES

When I teach people about radio buttons and checkboxes, I tell them that 
the preferred method of providing a label for the group is with the 
fieldset and legend tags. This is the convention for most types of 
interfaces that have radio buttons and checkboxes (just look at the 
"preferences" or "options" dialogue boxes in most software programs, 
like browsers and word processors, and you'll most likely see radio 
buttons and checkboxes grouped in fieldset-style boxes).

The techniques do not mention that this is the recommended or preferred 
technique for labeling a group of radio buttons or checkboxes. Is this 
omission on purpose?

3. OPTGROUP

 From a user agent implementation perspective, optgroup is unfriendly 
for keyboard users and screen reader users, because most user agents 
skip over the optgroup labels when you use the keyboard. I realize that 
it isn't the content author's fault, but the technique, at least right 
now, is largely inaccessible to keyboard users and screen reader users 
because of faulty implementation in browsers.

I don't know that there's anything we can do about this for the 
techniques document, but it's a piece of important information as far as 
using the document. Maybe we can provide a note or disclaimer?

4. TAB ORDER

The technique (15.6) currently states "Create a logical tab order 
through links, form controls, and objects." I think I would prefer to 
reword it to say "Ensure a logical tab order..." This is because much of 
the time the tab order can be quite logical without adding tabindex 
attributes. Using tabindex should be a technique reserved for instances 
in which the default tab order is insufficient. Using tabindex increases 
the complexity of the design, and increases the possibility of 
introducing tab order problems at the same time that you're trying to 
fix them.

-- 
Paul Bohman
Project Coordinator
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
www.webaim.org
Utah State University
www.usu.edu
Received on Tuesday, 27 July 2004 12:22:51 UTC

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