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RE: Label Tags Question

From: Jim Thatcher <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 16:56:28 -0600
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: Lubow Scott <lubow_scott@bah.com>, w3c <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, Trace List <sec508@trace.wisc.edu>
Message-id: <NDBBKJDAKKEJDCICIODLGEDGDLAA.jim@jimthatcher.com>
I said that the fact that focus goes to the label is only one problem with
the LABEL element. There are others which the title attribute on INPUT
elements solves.
(1) Many times there isn't text to assign with the LABEL element. In effect
the visual positions of the INPUT elements carry information which can be
supplied with the title attribute. For example,
   (a) Two adjacent INPUT fields just to the right of the text prompt "Zip
code." In the U.S. we (might) know to put in the "plus 4" in the second
field. The title on the second INPUT element could be "plus 4."
   (b) Three text INPUT fields to the right of the text "Phone number."
Again, in the U.S. the titles could be "area code," "exchange," and
   (c) In a survey, a bunch of radio buttons in a row with text "Strongly
disagree" on the left and "Strongly agree" on the right and a statement
"This thread is getting us nowhere!" across the top. The titles on the radio
buttons could be "disagree 5", "disagree 4," ... , "neutral," "agree 2," ...
"agree 5."
(2) The LABEL element as a container is not supported by any assistive
technology, because if it works as a container, the assistive technology
probably picks up the labeling text anyway. So I view the LABEL as container
as kind of a red herring and a source confusion.
(3) The LABEL with the for attribute requires a coordination of coding
between two elements. An ID has to be chosen for the INPUT element and the
LABEL element has to be coded with for attribute having the correct ID. This
coordination is a source of errors and takes time. The use of the title
element focuses the access issue on one element which saves time and reduces

Accessibility Consulting

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2001 11:07 PM
To: Jim Thatcher
Cc: Lubow Scott; w3c; Trace List
Subject: RE: Label Tags Question

Err, it might also be regarded as a problem with IE. In what  way would
changing the specification of the label element fix the problem, and in what
way would changing IE fix it?

It would appear that it is perfectly possible to do what is required, and
that because of a quirk in the IE user interface it is not clear that it is
possible. I don't think that using IE as the reference implementation, and
suggesting that in case of a conflict between IE and the specification
everyone should follow what IE does is an appropriate approach to building
consensus, and although it might solve short-term problems it is likely to
lead to a decrease in interoperability and a skewing of the current stsate
the Web which allows anyone to produce softare using open specifications.

An alternative technique would be to serve a special version to IE that
points out the bug and that one need not worry about what is presented since
the functionality is in fact available.


On Wed, 28 Nov 2001, Jim Thatcher wrote:

  That is one of the problems with the LABEL tag. IE is tabbing to the
  checkbox, but it is placing the focus rectangle on the text you have
  indicated is the label. I recommend using the title attribute on the input
  element instead of the label; this problem is just one of the problems
  the label tag. Current versions of JFW, Window-Eyes and HPR all support
  title on an input element.

  Accessibility Consulting

  -----Original Message-----
  From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
  Behalf Of Lubow Scott
  Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 11:46 AM
  To: w3c; Trace List
  Subject: Label Tags Question

  Sorry for the cross posting.  I have noticed that in I.E. 5.5, you can
  not tab to radio buttons and check boxes that have the LABEL tags around
  them.  Has anyone else noticed this and is there a way around it besides
  getting rid of the LABEL tags.
  Thanks in advance

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409
134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617
258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Sunday, 2 December 2001 17:58:56 UTC

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