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Re: Search forms for text-oriented/request for advice

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 11:23:14 -0400
Message-Id: <199909291535.LAA17016@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: dsm@mail.municode.com
Cc: EASI@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU, WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 10:33 PM 9/28/99 -0400, David Poehlman wrote:
>Hi I'm forwarding this to the wai interest group to see if they have
>anything to offer as well.

Dan,

As Steven McCaffrey said, it is a lot easier to help you with specifics in
hand.  But your actual drafts deserve a little privacy; more than what
these email lists afford.  I suggest you follow up with Steven or David to
organize a small lightweight review group for private review of your early
sketches.  Then bring the prototype site back later for public review
before you consider it final.

In addition there are some detailed comments interleaved below.

Al

>Daniel Stephen Mikell wrote:
>> 
>> Greetings List Members:
>> 
>> I'm working on a frameless  HTML document interface for large
>> public documents. The documents are primarily Codifications of
>> Municipal Regulations and Ordinances and they are posted on the
>> Municipal Code Corporation Website which is running a Windows
>> NT Internet Information Server and a program called the Folio
>> siteDirector. The documents are contained in Folio Infobases which
>> are essentially indexed document containers.  siteDirector
>> responds to requests from users and returns about one page or 15
>> infobase records. The interface is a standard HTML form.

By this I assume you mean that it is pure HTML; no scripting involved.

>> 
>> Each document page page returned as a part of an an HTML form
>> with a Text Input field for entering query specifications. There are
>> next and previous page buttons, and if a query is loaded there are
>> next and previous hit buttons which take one rapidly from one hit to
>> the next.

>> 
>> I understand that a key-stroke oriented person would use the Tab
>> key to change focus from one form element and the next, but I don't
>> understand how one would get the screen reader to focus on the
>> text of the page that is returned with the form.  Because of this I do
>> not really know if any redundant controls, such as a next page button
>> placed at the bottom of the screen would be useful to people who
>> are text and key-stroke oriented.

The tabbing generally covers links as well as form controls, so you are OK
as far as text links at the foot for next page are concerned.  But note the
guideline requiring informative link text.  No "click here," please.

>> Any advice will be appreciated. I'm including an five point outline of
>> the page format below in case anyone wants to take a closer look at
>> the form in the planning stages.
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> 
>> Dan Mikell
>> Web Administrator
>> Municipal Code Corporation
>> 
>> Currently, the page layout is as follows in outline form:
>> 
>> A.   At the top of the page there is a Table with Links to all headings
>> to which the current page is subordinate, so  the Chapter, Article,
>> Division, Subdivision and Section headings all appear at the top of
>> the page as HTML links.

This navbar should be skippable.  See 
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/1999JulSep/0406.html> for
more.

>> 
>> B.  Below the above mentioned links to superior headings is an
>> array of controls:
>> 
>> (1) a  Text Input box for entering a search specification
>> (2) a Send Query Button,
>> (3) A Previous Page Button,
>> (4) A Next Page Button, and,
>> (5 & 6) if a Query is loaded, Next Hit and Previous Hit buttons also
>> appear.

Next/Previous buttons should not be a problem if you give them good ALT text.

You should consider dropping the next-hit, previous-hit links.  This is a
good point for user testing.  They may get in the way more than they help,
at least in eyes-free mode.

>> 
>> C.  Below the array of controls is the text of the page returned by the
>> server which consists of 15 records of the Folio Infobase document
>> container.

In the follow-up (private?) discussion, you will need to clarify the
relationship between records and hits.
>> 
>> D.  Finally, at the bottom of the page, there are a Next page and a
>> Next Hit buttons.
>> 
>> End of Letter.
>> 
>> Dan Mikell
>> System Administrator
>> Municipal Code Corporation
>> (800) 262-2633 x 592
>
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Received on Wednesday, 29 September 1999 11:23:17 UTC

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