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[Bug 13513] New: Caution against textarea with wrap=hard

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 02:01:39 +0000
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-13513-3290@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Caution against textarea with wrap=hard
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Keywords: a11y, a11ytf
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: gcl-0039@access-research.org
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org, public-html-a11y@w3.org

The HTML5 spec should include advice to authors that textarea elements should
not be use with wrap=hard unless there is significant need. Inserting hard line
breaks without the user's knowledge or intent can cause difficulties for users
who later try to read the data submitted. 

Use case: Steve has low vision and so has the text size in his browser set
quite high, and because the browser window is limited to the width of his
screen, he sees short lines of text. He enters a long bug description into a
web form, but because the form has been crafted with wrap=hard, the browser
inserts hard line breaks before submitting the text. The result is that the bug
is entered into the database with hard line breaks every twenty characters.
Later, when other users view the bug, they find it incredibly annoying that the
text has such short lines and takes up so much vertical space, particularly
when printed out. They ask Steve to either stop using his large print settings
or stop submitting his own bug reports. (This same problem would occur for
users who reduce the size of their browser window in order to make room for
assistive technology windows, and for users who run on mobile devices.)

Use case: Beth runs with her browser text slightly enlarged. She is browsing
the same bug database, where wrap=hard has caused bug descriptions to have hard
line breaks inserted where they wrapped on the submitter's screen, generally
every 80 characters. However, since text is slightly larger on Beth's screen,
so lines wrap after 70 characters. The result is that every line that appears
on the screen for most users is for Beth broken into two lines, the first up to
70 characters and the second up to 10 characters long. This alternation between
long and short lines make lengthy text difficult for Beth to read.

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Received on Tuesday, 2 August 2011 02:01:41 UTC

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