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Re: Form labeling and user agent support

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 13:10:40 -0400
Message-ID: <001101c0d32a$d0bfece0$2cf60141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
I'd need to se the form to be sure but I believe sadly that currently b
is the way to go.

----- Original Message -----
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 1:32 PM
Subject: Form labeling and user agent support

Question on user agent support -

We're about to post a publications order form, allowing users to select
from roughly 80 publications. The form as it exists right now uses
checkboxes positioned to the left of the publication title (in a
two-column table). Each publication title is labeled appropriately.

   <td><input type="checkbox" name="publications" value="pub123"
   <td><label for="123">Sample publication</label></td>

However, according to checkpoint 10.2:

"Until user agents support explicit associations between labels and form
controls, for all form controls with implicitly associated labels,
ensure that the label is properly positioned."

Which, of course, would require that the label precede the control on
the same line, or on the preceding line, instead of the checkbox
preceding the label, as it is in our draft form. This makes perfect
sense to me - why present someone with a checkbox before telling them
what it's for? However, a colleague prefers the layout of the draft form
as it is - it's visually closer to most paper-based or web-based forms
she's familiar with.

So the question is, what about that "Until user agents support ..."? Do
user agents (by which I specifically mean "typical" browser and screen
reader combinations):

a - currently provide enough support for form labels to handle this
properly as it currently exists: checkbox first, then publication name,
with proper HTML labels, or

b - not provide enough support for form labels, in which case our form
needs to be redone?

I strongly suspect "b", and I plan to go ahead and redo the form, but I
thought I'd ask here first, since I don't have the experience of someone
who uses screen reader technology every day.

Received on Wednesday, 2 May 2001 13:11:19 UTC

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