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onclick vs Re: Click here

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 11:43:37 -0400 (EDT)
To: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
cc: Lynn Alford <lynn.alford@jcu.edu.au>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0208091135260.21800-100000@tux.w3.org>

(My point here is trivial and adds nothing much to the topic that gave rise
to it. It might or might not be interesting.)

On Fri, 9 Aug 2002, Matt May wrote:

>Another point: some people don't "click," because they don't use a mouse.
>They may type, or speak, or use a switch, or tap a screen. "Click here" is
>bad for much the same reason that the onclick() event in scripting is bad:
>the author assumes he or she knows how all users are using a site.

Hmmm. I don't quite agree. 'click here' and onclick() are slightly different,
because the words don't require any particular behaviour from the machine,
whereas the attribute does.

There are browsers that map onclick() to be fired by the return key, which is
an attempt to fix a specification bug by having different browser behaviour.
In my opinion this is not the best approach. It leads to people arguing that
we no longer need to fix the specification, we only need to convince people
to use an undocumented standard. And that, in my opinion, leads to the mess
of incompatible systems that we are trying to get away from by standardising
things that we agree are useful.

Saying 'click here' to a speech-input user is a little like saying "do you
see?" to a person who is blind. It isn't quite appropriate. But beyond
upsetting them you will probably get your meaning across.

Using onclick leads to particular technical problems where the meaning breaks
down. There are workarounds that people have made, at the expense of
standards compatibility and in some cases to the detriment of work that tries
to improve the standards.

end minor philosophical discussion.
Received on Friday, 9 August 2002 11:44:40 UTC

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