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RE: Nielsen's Latest Alertbox & a personal protest (Grouped Controls)

From: Geoff Deering <gdeering@acslink.net.au>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 08:22:11 +1100
To: <carl.myhill@ps.ge.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NBBBJPNFCLNLAADCLFJBIEHNFEAA.gdeering@acslink.net.au>

What should be considered here is grouping form elements appropriately.  Use
FIELDSET and LEGEND to do it.  This is also standard GUI design practice for
any OS SDK.


You can control the way it is displayed or not via CSS

Also see


and any other OS GUI Guidelines, Win, Gnome, etc

My 2 cents worth on J Nielsen.

He's someone I have learnt a lot from and respected, that being much more
early in Useit's history, pre 2000.  It's become something else now.

You be your own judge, just look at so many (valid) usability gurus /
professionals, who when they step into the area of accessibility, do they
show they have REAL understanding, knowledge and experience of
accessibility, compared to those frequenting these lists?  Just read their
sites, their training material, their accessibility training materials, do
they really understand WAI issues, and to what extent?  It's an easy
question to answer for yourself when you the evidence.

What most usability professionals miss time and time again, which
accessibility oriented people understand, and which more developers
understand than are given credit for, is that, on the web, "Markup is the
User Interface".

Geoff Deering

-----Original Message-----
From: carl.myhill@ps.ge.com

Hi All,

Anyone else seen Jakob Nielsen's latest alertbox?

The Ten Most Violated Homepage Design Guidelines

There are ten usability mistakes that about two-thirds of corporate websites
make. The prevalence of these errors alone warrants attention, especially
since they appear on sites with significant investment in usable design.

Never mind that his website www.useit.com seems to violate his own
guidelines 1 and 5, it is what it says at guideline 8 which has me confused.

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

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."

Bobby rates this as a priority 2 failure,  "Make sure that labels of all
form controls are properly placed."

Bobby also states that you should, "Include default, place-holding
characters in edit boxes and text areas"

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

I've written to Jakob about it for some kind of explanation but he's a busy
man an no longer gets his email directly, so who knows if my email will get
through to him.

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.


PS I'm not normally a Nielsen basher - in general I subscribe to a lot of
what he has to say
Received on Tuesday, 11 November 2003 16:22:35 UTC

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