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Re: Are forms accessible

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 13:33:43 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199711032133.NAA19616@netcom14.netcom.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: techwatch@trace.wisc.edu
Hi, David
I tend to agree with you.  A very basic form, i.e. a single text field
with only one send button, can probably be considered accessible.
(Using a RETURN in the text field will activate the form.)  If the
form uses buttons or other features, then probably currently it cannot be
considered generally accessible since button control varies so much
among browsers.

Using alternate methods, e.g. phone or e-mail, can work for some
web applications.  However, there are many other applications for which
alternate means won't work, e.g. configurable database interaction.  These
applications will be inaccessible.

A question that comes up is how can entities covered by Title II or Title III
of the ADA be in compliance when using web forms if the technology is
currently inaccessible?  Could this state of technology be used to justify
a claim of undue burden?


>Hi Scot!
>At different times in my life, I might give different answers to this
>question, but let's consider a couple of things.  I may be stating the
>obvious here, but please bear with me.  Forms are variably accessible
>depending on 1> the product, and 2> the reciever.
>the product is the form and what has generated it.  the reciever is the
>"browser" if you will and the interface to it.  these interact with each
>other in subtle ways and a number of mixes emmerge.  The purest
>deffinition for access in this case is can a form be read, comprehended
>and compleeted by anyone who has the mental cpacity to do so.  the best
>way to insure this as far as I can tell is to make the form a simple fill
>in the blank rather than having buttons which imply and require the
>application of something on the recievers end which may or may not be
>I hope this answers your enquiry or at least takes us in an appropriate
>I tell people not to redesign their forms, just provide an alternate means
>of access to them so that they may be serviced.  for instance, can I email
>my response or quiry?  can I phone it in or mail it in?
>cn I ask for a form in email which is structured differently but provides
>the same data?
>On Thu, 30 Oct 1997, Scott Luebking wrote:
>> Hi,
>> A question I keep running into is whether forms are accessible or not.
>> Some aspects to take in consideration are:
>> 1.  If some blind computer users can access forms, are they accessible?
>> 2.  If a person has a preferred screen reader which doesn't work with
>>     forms, are they accessible?
>> 3.  If it takes blind computer users three times longer to use forms
>>     than sighted users, are forms accessible?
>> 4.  If blind users make more errors using forms than sighted users,
>>     are forms accessible?
>> If forms are not considered accessible, what are the implications for
>> all those applications which let users interact with online databases?
>> Are all these applications inaccessible if forms are the only interface
>> provided?  Does this mean that for online systems, non-form based
>> interfaces must also be provided?
>> If forms are considered inaccessible, what are the implications
>> under 504, 508, ADA etc?
>> Scott
>touching the internet
>voice: 1-(301) 949-7599
Received on Monday, 3 November 1997 16:34:08 UTC

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