W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2004

RE: reset buttons in forms - useful or not?

From: Bart Simons <bart.simons@ascii.be>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 10:51:26 +0100
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <MIEALCLGDGJJFNADDMGKIEHOCFAA.bart.simons@ascii.be>

> how useful are reset buttons in forms?

Interesting question, in my view it depends on the purpose of the form. In a
long registration form or a questionaire for instance, I would not be happy
to delete all my submissions with one keypress. In general, people don't
change their mind completely when filling out this kind of forms.

On the other hand, a reset button seems necessary in forms that allow to
look up a flight timetable for instance. Maybe you want to start all over
again; in that case it is nice that you don't have to wipe out all options
by hand.

> Also, I have seen several instances of the reset button being
> located before the submit button (both in layout and mark-up
> flow)

This is indeed really annoying. In most cases you expect people to click the
submit button, so it should get focus first. It can be compared to the
dialog box asking whether you want to save changes to a file being closed.
It is safer to turn the focus to the yes button by default. The reset button
is an alternative but it should not be "promoted" too much to avoid
confusion and accidental use.
Most people expect that the submit button is accessed before the reset
button. I would advice to not break this de facto convention.

Bart Simons
Web Accessibility Specialist
ASCII - European e-government content solutions
Rue de Trèves, 49-51, Trierstraat
Bruxelles, B-1040 Brussel
Phone: +
E-mail: bart.simons@ascii.be
Received on Tuesday, 23 March 2004 04:50:52 UTC

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