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Re: WCAG 1.0 checkpoint 10.4

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2005 13:41:39 +0100
Message-ID: <42D3BA83.40809@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Gautier Barrere wrote:

> "Until user agents handle empty controls correctly,
> include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text
> areas."

I've asked quite a few times on the list here, but to no avail. From my 
own testing, I'd say that the time has come to ditch this guideline. I 
am not aware of any user agent (with/without assistive technology 
running on top of it) in use today that can't handle empty form 
elements. If memory serves me right, this guideline was created because 
Netscape 2 in combination with Outspoken on Mac had some issues and 
silently omitted these form elements...

Also spoke to Shawn Lawton Henry http://www.w3.org/People/Shawn/ quite a 
while ago, and she conceded that I may not be wrong with my assumption 
that it's time to ditch this.

Placeholder text can cause more problems (or at least annoyances) than 
it (supposedly) solves.

> But how can I do if I use radio ou check button ? (for instance for
> the gender choice, between, "man and woman")

Placeholder text does not apply to radio or check buttons. As the 
guideline says: edit boxes (i.e. input type="text" and textareas).

> I should do a choice by default, for instance "man" but it won't
> ensure relevance of the data gathered (Indeed, I'm sure that a lot of
> women won't change this, even if they will respond to my form).

You're getting confused between placeholder text and having a default 
choice already set. There is no guideline covering the latter.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 12:41:45 UTC

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