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RE: [#1311] Should we permit multiple labels for one form control?

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 09:48:09 -0600
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B2906E6@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Yvette P. Hoitink" <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>, "WAI GL \(E-mail\)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Yvette Hoitink wrote:
In my own experience, I have found multiple labels quite useful from
both a usability and accessibility point of view.

I will give you a real-world example:
I created a maintenance form, where the administrator had to choose what
image the use: the current one or the new one. I presented the images
side-by-side, with radio buttons underneath each image. Radio button 1
had a text beside it: "use current version", radio button 2 read: "use
new version". Image 1 had an alt describing the current version of the
image, image 2 had an alt describing the new version of the image. I
used two labels for each radiobutton: both the text next to the radio
button and the associated image were labels for the same radiobutton.
Both labels combined tell you what the radiobutton means. Using two
labels has the additional benefit that people with limited motor
functions can either click the text or click anywhere on the entire
image to select their preference. That could not have been achieved with
only 1 label. 

For people with vision problems, I think using the title-attribute could
in many cases replace the need for an extra label. But there are more
accessibility benefits from using labels than just for people with
problems: it helps people with limited motor functions as well.
Especially for the latter group, having multiple labels can be a big
help because it gives them a larger click-target. That cannot be
achieved by using a title-attribute. It can also help people with
cognitive disabilities because it allows you to use both a text and an
image as operable elements. It is not always possible to put them both
in the same label-element. 

So I would advocate that we allow multiple labels in HTML and would like
it if it were part of UAAG that all labels are read by AT. 


Elegant and persuasive.  Thanks, Yvette!

Received on Wednesday, 22 December 2004 15:48:11 UTC

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