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RE: Nielsen's Latest Alertbox & a personal protest

From: <carl.myhill@ps.ge.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 07:18:21 -0500
Message-ID: <6192367D59F8904CA553579EF41FEEA001C900A6@ukcbgx01psge.geips.ge.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Thanks for the interesting reply Tina.

Although Nielsen uses the word 'heading' I don't think he is saying an <h1>
style heading. He is saying don't write any text there at all, just rely on
the text of the button.  I can see this point of view, but I thought
accessibility guidelines were different - particularly for screen reading

Using Bobby you can also assess a site against 508 regulations, eg useit.com
does not valid thus,

It fails on this...

"Explicitly associate form controls and their labels with the LABEL element.
For each FORM control, place its label in a LABEL element. A LABEL is
attached to a specific form control through the use of the "for" attribute.
The value of the "for" attribute must be the same as the value of the "id"
attribute of the form control. For example: "

This is the same deal as the point I made originally. Nielsen is saying,
don't bother with a heading just use the button text - his site fails to
meet 508 on just those grounds.

In general I don't have much complaint with guidelines Nielsen suggests -
many make a whole lot of sense across boundaries, which is why he gets
$20,000 a day consultancy rates!

Bobby is also quite well respected and the guidelines from Bobby are very
similar to WAI and 508 so I don't have a whole lot of problems with that
either. I have no expertise in accessiblity so if Bobby tells me to do
something for reasons of accessibility, I will try to comply as best I can
since it usually only changes my design a very little.

Thanks for the reference to the earlier discussion - I'll take a look at
that later.


-----Original Message-----
From: tina@greytower.net [mailto:tina@greytower.net] 
Sent: 11 November 2003 10:58
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Nielsen's Latest Alertbox & a personal protest

On 11 Nov, carl.myhill@ps.ge.com wrote:

> "8. Don't use a heading to label the search area; instead use a 
> "Search" button to the right of the box

  He is quite right. Labelling any form control is the job of the LABEL
  element (in HTML/XHTML), NOT a H* element.

> This is a small point, but there's no reason to label the search box 
> if there's a "Search" button right next to it."

  Of course there is - there is no logic that states the INPUT with type
  "submit" is related to that other INPUT with type "text" unless it is
  explicitly labeled - using LABEL.

> Bobby rates this as a priority 2 failure,  "Make sure that labels of 
> all form controls are properly placed." 
> http://bobby.cast.org/bobby/html/en/gls/g55.html

  I hope that Bobby rates it priority 2 failure, but of checkpoint 12.4
  instead. Checkpoint 10.2, after all, does not DEMAND that all form
  controls have implicit labels, just that those that have also position
  them properly.

  His advice is, however, strictly against 12.4. IMnsHO.

> Even I don't buy that priority 3 failure, and nor does Mark from 
> www.diveintoaccessibility.org , who instead puts an empty string in as 
> a label to fool with Bobby's verification robot into giving his site a 

  Perhaps you, and he, should. See below.

> rating. I've got my own little protest about this here... 
> http://www.impingtonswimmingclub.org.uk/technical/ (under 'why not 
> AAA?')

  This topic has been hotly debated. The discussion raged even here, but
  the *conclusion* was - if memory serves - quite different from Mr.

  I would like to draw your attention to the thread named "place-holding
  characters in form elements" that occurred between the 23rd and 24th
  of May this year. However, note also the short thread from September
  with the subject "place-holding characters in edit/text boxes".

> Can anyone here educate me on whether Nielsen's guidelines are 
> actually better informed than Bobby? It does rather seem that Jakob 
> has somewhat ignored accessibility in his latest alertbox but perhaps 
> I'm wrong.

  Frankly, neither Bobby nor Nielsen have guidelines we need to worry
  about for the WWW. Stick with WCAG and/or Section 508. They might not
  be perfect, but they have the advantage of being consistent across

 -    Tina Holmboe                    Greytower Technologies
   tina@greytower.net                http://www.greytower.net/
   [+46] 0708 557 905
Received on Tuesday, 11 November 2003 07:20:34 UTC

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