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Input element type=file

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 16:16:39 -0400
Message-ID: <002101c5501d$05cb2440$9e01a8c0@deque.local>
To: "W3C WAI-IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: <suggestions@freedomscientific.com>, <support@gwmicro.com>

I note that screen reading software (JAWS 6.1 or WinEyes 4.5),does not
announce the identity of a form control where input type = file.
To be true, JAWS does say "file upload" after reading the label   associated
with the control but a user would not normally know that this suffix is not
part of the label and is in fact intended to convey an identity  for the
control which appears like a normal text field.
There is a browse button next to the edit box which does not get focus with
JAWS in forms mode. WinEyes does not seem to get focus in/out of forms mode.
JAWS's help key   (in forms mode) sometimes announces "Enter name of file to
upload"  and sometimes says "To choose a file to upload, press spacebar or
the enter  key on this button". This is confusing but I suppose, JAWS reads
the second help message when it has focussed on the browse button- but a
user would not know this.
With JAWS and WinEyes it is possible to  activate the unannounced browse
button   with the space bar.
I suppose FS and GW Micro  need to resolve this issue.
But I also wonder how is the browse button  that comes with type=file
different from a normal button that  generally is focussable.
For now, including title for the input element  will work too but screen
reader users will need to check for the title as it is not announced as part
of default verbosity    settings.
Alternatively, it is possible for page authors  to use  a workaround  that
will let a JAWS user be aware that there is a button alongside by using a
proprietary feature which only JAWS recognizes and is not yet approved by
HTML/XHTML: I refer to contextHelp attribute.
<label for="fileId">Enter file name:</label>
<input type="file" id="fileId" tabindex="20" ContextHelp="Enter name of file
or use Browse button alongside "  />

Sailesh Panchang
Senior Accessibility Engineer,
Deque Systems (www.deque.com)
11180 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite # 400,
Reston, Virginia 20191 (U.S.A.)
Tel 703-225-0380 ext 105
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com
Received on Tuesday, 3 May 2005 20:10:06 UTC

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