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RE: Mandatory field labelling

From: Tom James <tom.james@digitext.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 14:09:35 -0000
Message-ID: <BB503C6DCB3BD411A94C00E07D81D64B175937@NTSERVER2>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Ian Sharpe wrote:

> Just wondered whether there is a definitive answer to the 
> issue of how to display labels for mandatory fields. 
> I've always used an asterisk, not sure about whether before 
> or after the label is better? Sometimes also use bold font in addition.
Can't  > see anything wrong with this but is there a better solution? 
> Using this approach screen readers will say the asterisk I assume and was 
> wondering whether it might be helpful to use title text in addition
containing > the word "mandatory" for extra enphsis.

How about using an _image_ of an asterix to mark the mandatory field, but
setting the alt attribute to "Mandatory: " or something similar? That way
you comply with common web practice (asterix = mandatory) but a browser such
as Lynx will replace the image with "Mandatory: ". 

So in a variation of Randal's suggestion:

<label for="firstName">
<img src="asterix.gif" alt="Mandatory: " />
First Name
<input type="text" id="firstName" />

The one big problem I can see is that, for visual users who turn images off,
the (small) space reserved for the image won't be big enough to fit in the
alt attribute, but that is a general problem of how common graphical
browsers render missing images.

Any comments?


Dr Tom James
Senior Consultant

Digitext - Online Information at Work

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Received on Thursday, 21 March 2002 09:08:09 UTC

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