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Re: reset buttons in forms - useful or not?

From: Matthew Smith <matt@kbc.net.au>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 20:20:32 +1030
Message-ID: <40600868.9080205@kbc.net.au>
To: "Scarlett Julian (ED)" <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>
Cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Julian Scarlett Julian writes:
> just a thought but how useful are reset buttons in forms? It strikes me that to give the user an opportunity to accidentally wipe out all the info they have just typed in may not be the best idea in the world. Is the type attribute of "reset" considered to be enough warning for users not to accidentally choose it? 
> Also, I have seen several instances of the reset button being located before the submit button (both in layout and mark-up flow) which causes momentary uncertainty in my mind so how it's perceived by users with cognitive difficulties is maybe a real concern.

Matthew Smith replies:

I use reset buttons a fair bit on forms for adding/editing records in a 
database.  In the add situation, removing everything that I have typed may not 
be that useful.  In the edit situation, however, the reset button restores field 
values to what they were before I started messing around.

 From an accessibility standpoint, I would say that care should be taken both 
with positioning and legend - the same goes for the submit button.

Typically, I have a submit button with a reset button to the right and next in 
the tab order.  For my database add, the submit button would have the legend 
(HTML value attribute) "Create New Record"; with the reset button, the legend 
would be "Clear Form".  The edit form would have the legend "Save Changes" on 
the submit button and "Undo Changes" or something similar on the reset.

I would never rely on default legends (no value attribute) unless I were doing 
something only for myself.



Matthew Smith
Kadina Business Consultancy
South Australia
Received on Tuesday, 23 March 2004 04:50:47 UTC

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