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Re: label placement contradictions (X-posted)

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 13:44:16 -0400
Message-Id: <199906141738.NAA258439@relay.interim.iamworld.net>
To: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, Neal Ewers <Ewers@trace.wisc.edu>
Cc: "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>, WAI EO <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>, jongund@staff.uiuc.edu, ij@w3.org
Putting a control label above the control has serious problems for users of
older screen readers.  This is only marginally acceptable, and then only if
there is no more than one control on line following label.

Expansion:  The first-level of display scope in the screen reader is the
highlighted text of the control with focus.  In some browsers this will
include the label.  That is good style.  The label should share the
highlight when a control gains focus.  The choices of reading scopes in the
screen reader are roughly: the screen reader reads all in document
serially, just the current line, or just the current
focus-or-other-highlight.  To get from a checkbox to the label in the
_previous_ line the user of the screen reader has to back up _twice_ in
searching for better context.  Once to read the whole line, and then to
read more than the current line.  Checking the previous line will be an
arcane trick of the trade.  Next natural level of retreat above "read the
whole line" is to start over at the top.

A really bad scenario is the defacto table with multiple labels associated
with multiple controls by layout artifacts.

Neal, have I got this pretty much straight?

Forcing the label to come before a checkbox or radio button has serious
drawbacks in terms of visual values.  Lining up a set of parallel
clickables in a column aids usability.  We need to compromise better here.
Consider FatLinks in User Agent as a better fix.

Steve McCaffrey is interested in accessible forms.  Please get comments on
examples from him and Gregory Rosmaita before finalizing any adjustments or
interpretations of the guidance in this area.


At 04:38 PM 6/13/99 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>Cross posted wo WAI GL and WAI EO.
>I agree with Len. I think we would be better off requiring consistent
>positioning. The checkpoint itself requires proper positioning, but hte
>explanatory text says the the label must be above or before the control.
>Charles McCN
>On Sun, 13 Jun 1999, Leonard R. Kasday wrote:
>  Checkpoint 10.2 has labels preceding fields, which make obvious good sense
>  for text fields.
>  However, for radio buttons and checkboxes, which one can think of as
>  "bullet" controls because they look like bullets, Chuck's curriculum
>  example has the label following the controls.  See
>  http://www.starlingweb.com/wai/three/sam75-0.htm
>  Question: do we change the checkpoint or Chuck's example?
>  I think we should consider switching to what Chuck has for bullet style
>  controls.
Received on Monday, 14 June 1999 13:38:50 UTC

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