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

Re: reset buttons in forms - useful or not?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 10:16:16 -0500
Message-ID: <007601c410e9$ca5db620$6401a8c0@handsontech>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I only have one thing to add to this excellent response.  It does not matter 
where you put the reset button, as long as you provide a safety valve for 
it.  If the reset button is activated, you can ask whether or not the user 
wants to continue with reset or not.  I do agree though that reset should be 
provided in a place that is not in the way of the submit button.  The 
problem with putting it after the submit button though is that some people 
might want to use it but not find it.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bart Simons" <bart.simons@ascii.be>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 4:51 AM
Subject: RE: reset buttons in forms - useful or not?



> 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.

Regards
--
Bart Simons
Web Accessibility Specialist
ASCII - European e-government content solutions
Rue de Trèves, 49-51, Trierstraat
Bruxelles, B-1040 Brussel
Phone: +32.2.235.00.46
E-mail: bart.simons@ascii.be
Received on Tuesday, 23 March 2004 10:21:12 UTC

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