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Re: Form labeling and user agent support

From: Kelly Ford <kelly@kellford.com>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 08:12:07 -0400 (EDT)
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0105030757590.17558-100000@ns.shellworld.net>

In the case of JAWS, no matter what mode you are in when you use tha tab
key to navigate, JAWS reads the associated label text when focus is moved
to a check box.

If by chance you are using JAWS 3.3 (which is several versions back and
lacks that buffered mode) I would submit that having check boxes to the
left of the text is most appropriate.  It is likely that a person iould be
using the JAWS cursor or strictly tab key navigation.  Quite honestly I
haven't a clue how well JAWS 3.3 and IE 4.0 do with reading appropriate
label text.  Those are software versions that are at least two years old
and I haven't tested anything with them in quite a long time.

On Thu, 3 May 2001, David Poehlman wrote:

> what if I am in forms mode and tab through the checkboxes.  What if any
> regard should there be for positioning of the text.  What also should I
> do if I am running jfw 3.3 with ie 4.01 for some reason?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Kelly Ford" <kelly@kellford.com>
> Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 11:57 PM
> Subject: Re: Form labeling and user agent support
> Hello Adam,
> I suspect you are exploring this for 508 compliance so please don't
> consider this any sort of official opinion.  That said, I have a couple
> comments.
> Your present design doesn't strike me as all that bad and is quite
> common
> from the perspective of what a user is used to.  Most check boxes on web
> pages appear before the text of the check box.  I can actually make a
> case
> that this is a better design as the appearance of the check box after
> the
> prompt is likely to seem more confusing by comparison.
> With JAWS in the Virtual PC mode, the default for web content, the user
> would experience a check box, arrow down once and then the text.  If the
> user presses enter (this is how you set focus to a check box or other
> form
> control from the VPC mode) on the check box, the associated label text
> will be read along with the fact that it is a check box.
> Window-Eyes takes the label text and explicitly associates it with the
> control in what it calls the MSAA mode.  This means that label location
> is
> not critical for Window-Eyes because the user will experience the label
> text on the same line as the control as well as in the original
> location.
> Home Page Reader behavior is similar to JAWS.
> All three of these screen readers use what I'll term
> a buffered reading mode.  By that I mean they load the web content and
> reformat into a decolumnized view among other items.
> There's also the possibility of using a title tag directly on the input
> control.  At present Window-Eyes is the only product I know will use
> this
> information but I believe other products will in the future.  Nor it it
> clear to me how Window-Eyes and other products will handle title and
> label
> text being present for the same control.  I believe Window-Eyes defaults
> to label text in such cases at present.
> On Wed, 2 May 2001, ADAM GUASCH-MELENDEZ wrote:
> > 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.
> Example:
> >
> >    <tr>
> >    <td><input type="checkbox" name="publications" value="pub123"
> id="123"></td>
> >    <td><label for="123">Sample publication</label></td>
> >    </tr>
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Thanks!
> >
Received on Thursday, 3 May 2001 08:12:23 UTC

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