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Re: Setting focus in a form and screenreaders

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 23:20:23 +0100
Message-ID: <444BFDA7.4020402@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Mike Brown wrote:
> I've been asked to create a form and on page load have the focus set to 
> a particular field in the form. I've used some javascript to do that.
> It then occurred to me that a screenreader, on loading the page, would 
> be immediately at the form filed and miss all the information before the 
> field.
> I tested briefly in a demo copy of JAWS and found that to be the case.
> It seems to me this is a major accessibility issue for the form. Would 
> an experienced screenreader user has some way of overriding this 
> behaviour which would mitigate the problem? Are they any alternative 
> ways of accomplishing the same thing?

The user could disable javascript, which is a bit like turning a light 
bulb off with a hammer. On a side note, I personally find sites that 
take away my control and "helpfully" focus a form field for me very 
irritating...the amount of times I've visited www.dictionary.com, 
clicked on the input, started typing the word, and *then* (as the page 
takes a while to load) the javascript kicks in, focusses the input, and 
on my next keystroke I erase anything I've typed in already as all my 
previous text was selected from the field getting focussed...

I'd circumvent the issue by simply not auto-focussing the field.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Sunday, 23 April 2006 22:20:43 UTC

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