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Inline help for form fields

From: Matthew Smith <matt@kbc.net.au>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 17:00:53 +1030
Message-ID: <41F5E79D.1080306@kbc.net.au>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hi All

I would appreciate any comments regarding inline help for form fields.

When we wish to label form fields, we have the use of the <label></label> 
element.  Using the "for" attribute of the label and the "id" attribute of the 
<input /> element, we establish a relationship.

In the past (in my pre-accessibility days), I used to provide inline help by way 
of putting hints, tips, comments, etc., in a <p></p> underneath the form field. 
  The obvious problem with this is that there is no formal relationship between 
the help text and the field; the text could become meaningless if not confusing 
if the rendering of the page were to separate the help text from the form field.

Whilst I can use a title attribute in the form field to contain the help text, 
exactly how much use is this?  How many user agents will actually present this 
attribute to the reader so that it is useful?

Any techniques that anyone may wish to share would be appreciated.



Matthew Smith
Kadina Business Consultancy
South Australia
Received on Tuesday, 25 January 2005 06:30:58 UTC

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