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Using a table to structure a form

From: Andrew Johns <andrew.johns@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 11:06:04 +0100
Message-ID: <FDFC0668A850D246BC4231715D94904E266C3E@uranus.jkd.co.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Good morning all, 

I've been playing around with making a form more accessible while still retaining design.  It's ok for labels and text areas etc, but when I came upon radio buttons and checkboxes I started having problems.

The problem is that radio buttons and checkboxes require fieldset and legend tags, but when I use this, the default presentation is usually a border surrounding the grouped elements and the legend appears in the border.  Through use of styles I managed to get the legend to appear to the left of my form elements like all my other labels were positioned, but unfortunately this is extremely buggy in various browsers.  The only options I really had left was:

1) to give up and be forced to have the fieldset - complete with border and legend and incorporate this into future form designs.  Which might not please the designers, and indeed, clients.

2) Drop the legend and fieldset completely, and just use <strong> or a <Hx> for the group heading.  

3) Use a table to structure the form.  All the labels for text areas and drop downs would appear in the <th> tags, but would also have the <label> tag set as well.  The legend for the radio buttons would also appear correctly.  I would then use the headers attribute on the <td> cell containing each form element to link to the specific table header.  I hope I explained this quite clearly.  It seems accessible in theory though I bet there is a flaw to it.  I know it's hack but I can't see any other way of maintaining the form design and still make it accessible.

For an example of what I mean, see here: www.makesomenoise.co.uk/table_form/

I look forward to your comments!

Kind Regards,

Andrew Johns
Westminster Business Square
1-45 Durham Street
SE11 5JH
Tel:  020 7793 9399
Fax: 020 7793 9299
URL:  www.jkd.co.uk

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Received on Friday, 19 July 2002 06:06:07 UTC

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