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RE: Suggestions for Forms?

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 10:45:36 -0400
Message-ID: <01BEC153.89575180.bbailey@clark.net>
To: "'David Clark'" <dmclark@cast.org>, Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: "'Web Accessibility Initiative'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear David and Kynn (et al.)

Thanks very much for the feedback.

I like how IE handles the LABEL tag, although this may lead to abuse.  Why 
not multiple LABEL tags for a single ID?  (Or is this okay anyway?)  LABEL 
could also be used this way to create "hidden" intra-document links and a 
poor man's (javascript free though) menu bars.  Using CSS, intra-document 
links could then have a very different presentation from regular text links 
(within a <A HREF>...</A>).

Do any other browsers (or screen readers) do anything with LABEL yet?

Kynn, just so I can better begin to understand reading PERL (and I 
appriciate the maxim that it is easier to write than read), how about the 
expression to delete one (and only one) leading period?


On Friday, June 25, 1999 5:20 PM, David Clark [SMTP:dmclark@cast.org] 
> Kynn and Bruce,
> I have found another key advantage to LABEL (at least in IE).
> The text of the label is "hot" and therefore there is a larger clickable
> region - helpful for orthopedic disabilities.
> dc
> David M. Clark
> CAST, Inc., 39 Cross St., Peabody, MA  01960
> Tel 978-531-8555 x236 - Fax 978-531-0192
> Email dmclark@cast.org
> http://www.cast.org/bobby/
> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On 
> Of Kynn Bartlett
> Sent: Friday, June 25, 1999 4:34 PM
> To: webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net
> Cc: 'Web Accessibility Initiative'
> Subject: Re: Suggestions for Forms?
> At 12:53 PM 6/25/1999 , Bruce Bailey wrote:
> >I've looked at the WCAG regarding forms, and I am a little mystified
> >regarding suggestions for the LABEL attribute.
> The LABEL tag identifies a section of text as being the "label"
> for a given part of a form.  For example, on www.hwg.org, the
> titles of each search are the "label" associated with the search
> box directly below.  They serve to explain what it's for.
> In your case, you want to change:
>       <TR>
>         <TH align=right valign=top>Search&nbsp;For:</TH>
>         <TD><INPUT type=text name=search_for value="." size=40></TD>
>       </TR>
> To read:
>       <TR>
>         <TH align=right valign=top>
>           <LABEL FOR="search_for">Search&nbsp;For:</LABEL>
>         </TH>
>         <TD><INPUT type=text ID="search_for"
>                    name=search_for value="." size=40></TD>
>       </TR>
> This will make it obvious that the text "search for" describes the
> following box.
> Why is this necessary?  Well, it's obvious to you or me when we
> look at the page what it's there for.  But that's because we can
> understand the text and can see the visual location of the elements.
> A computer, however, can't understand that.  The benefit of the
> LABEL is that it EXPLICITLY tells the computer in a machine-readable
> form what label is associated with which form control.  This
> allows the browser to restructure the form in a way that will
> be more accessible to the user.  Without this information, it
> would have to guess.
> >The utility of ACCESSKEY
> >also excapes me for this purpose (only two parameters, and one uses 
> >buttons).
> ACCESSKEY is problematic and needs to reconsidered; I would
> advise _against_ this for now.
> However, I would suggest that a pulldown list might be more
> usable than a list of radio checkboxes, from both an accessibility
> standpoint (the text is better associated with the value of the
> control) and an aesthetics view.
> >I've followed the suggestion for putting in "starter" text (using 
> >but this is ugly.  Does it really help?  Is there a way to have the 
> >text "selected" so that if the user types (without clicking) the text 
> >was already there would disappear?  Databases frequently work this way.
> This depends on the browser being used.
> >Is it desireable to avoid forms?
> Not really, it's just desirable to (a) do them "right" (meaning with
> accessibility features), and (b) if possible, design alternate ways
> to access the same information, such as a generated-on-the-fly
> index.
> >I am just starting with PERL and am feeling really brain dead at this
> >point.  Can anyone give me the PERL script for deleting a leading period 
> >space from a scalar variable?
> Untested, and keep in mind that perl has 17581124718 ways to do
> anything, and I always use the worst way :)
> $scalar =~ /^[. ]*(.*)$/;
> $scalar = $1;
> --
> Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
> President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
> AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Monday, 28 June 1999 10:45:30 UTC

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