Re: Should we require labels to be always visible?

This following statement has been documented for H44 right from the
start and is widely understood to be the WG's stance on SC 3.3.2:
"However, for Success Criterion 3.3.2, the label element must be
visible since it provides assistance to all users who need help
understanding the purpose of the field".
The requirement for label to be provided to all users (i.e. be
rendered) is covered by SC 3.3.2. More recently, in 2014, the HTML5
specs explicitly stated that the placeholder is not meant to be a
label substitute and cautioned of accessibility problems in case of
True screen readers read the placeholder attribute text as if it were
a label even after user enters data. But the value of the attribute is
meant to be a hint or data format example and such - not a label
Because developers use it as a label substitute does not make the
practice valid.
It may be noted that  the placeholder text is not treated as the
default  value for the field. The form fails validation if the
required attribute is present.
Most will agree that  incorporating both elevators and a staircase
for a building takes up more space and resources. But will anyone
argue that elevators can be dispensed with because  say 75% of people
can use stairs?
Likewise the placeholder may save space on the screen... but it is
incorrect use  of the attribute as per the specs and a violation of SC
Not requiring a visible label for each form field will not strengthen WCAG 2.0.
The exceptions:
Search form with a  textbox with a visual cue and search button
Multi-part fields like phone# or social security# with suitable cue /
formatting to indicate purpose of fields.
Form within a table (typically not over 6 rows) where the row and
column headers provide the required visual cues. e.g. survey form with
radio button choices or a form in which data needs to be entered in a
separate column for each applicant for instance.

Thanks and regards,
Sailesh Panchang

On 1/7/17, David MacDonald <> wrote:
> I'm glad to hear this consensus emerging...
> We have Paciello, Deque, Nomesa, SSB, myself and others all with this
> interpretation...
> Cheers,
> David MacDonald
> *Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*
> Tel:  613.235.4902
> LinkedIn
> <>
> GitHub <>
> <>
> *  Adapting the web to all users*
> *            Including those with disabilities*
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> <>
> On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 12:41 PM, Katie Haritos-Shea GMAIL
> <
>> wrote:
>> I agree with Patrick
>> ​​​​​* katie *
>> Katie Haritos-Shea
>> Principal ICT Accessibility Architect (WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA)
>> Cell: 703-371-5545 | | Oakton, VA | LinkedIn Profile |
>> Office: 703-371-5545 | @ryladog
>> NOTE: The content of this email should be construed to always be an
>> expression of my own personal independent opinion, unless I identify that
>> I
>> am speaking on behalf of Knowbility, as their AC Rep at the W3C - and -
>> that my personal email never expresses the opinion of my employer, Deque
>> Systems.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Patrick H. Lauke []
>> Sent: Saturday, January 7, 2017 12:31 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: Should we require labels to be always visible?
>> On 07/01/2017 14:50, Marla Runyan wrote:
>> > Glenda,
>> >
>> > I totally agree:
>> >
>> >   * A placeholder alone in a form field does not qualify as a label for
>> >     sighted users because it is not always present. Note: A
>> > placeholder,
>> >     then supplemented by a label (even if the label does not visually
>> >     appear until after the user focuses on the field) is enough to pass
>> >     - so long as a label is always programmatically associated.
>> >
>> > BUT - What if the placeholder text is styled to meet contrast specs
>> > (4.5:1) and is also styled to remain visible until the user begins
>> > typing - would placeholder text under these conditions qualify as a
>> > visible label when a programmatic label is also present?
>> No because once something has been entered in the field, there is no more
>> visible text acting as a label present for sighted users who are not
>> using
>> AT.
>> Contrast is orthogonal to this discussion, as it's a separate issue.
>> P
>> --
>> Patrick H. Lauke
>> |
>> |
>> twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke

Received on Friday, 13 January 2017 19:08:15 UTC