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Re: Inline help for form fields

From: Stephani Roberts Lincoln <stephani@MIT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 15:23:49 -0500
Message-Id: <p0610056dbe1c5996b521@[]>
To: "Sailesh Panchang" <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>, "Matthew Smith" <matt@kbc.net.au>, "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Matthew, thanks for starting this thread.

Sailesh (or anyone who might have answers),

This is helpful but I'm somewhat confused, do you have an example of 
one or more form controls that might be associated with a label.

Also, do you know whether or not a screen reader will read the title 
tag as well as the text label? And is this a custom setting that 
screen reader users set based on their own preferences or is there a 


At 9:33 AM -0500 1/25/05, Sailesh Panchang wrote:
>Hi <mailto:matt@kbc.net.au>Matthew ,
>The title is displayed as a tool tip by some browsers  and 
>displaying help text using the title  may be helpful. But the title 
>is also used to function as a  label when screen text is not 
>available  for   the control or more than one form controls need to 
>be associated with a  label eg. controls in a data table.
>Sailesh Panchang
>Senior Accessibility Engineer
>Deque Systems,11180  Sunrise Valley Drive,
>4th Floor, Reston VA 20191
>Tel: 703-225-0380 Extension 105
>E-mail: <mailto:sailesh.panchang@deque.com>sailesh.panchang@deque.com
>Fax: 703-225-0387
>* Look up <<http://www.deque.com>http://www.deque.com> *
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <mailto:matt@kbc.net.au>Matthew Smith
>To: <mailto:w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>WAI Interest Group
>Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 1:30 AM
>Subject: Inline help for form fields
>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 20:24:56 UTC

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