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Re: Question re: WCAG2.0, Requirement 3.3.2

From: Cliff Tyllick <cliff.tyllick@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 19:06:56 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <399820.36152.qm@web112516.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Phil, viewing this issue from the standpoint of a usability professional, I would point out that the first accessibility issue with your approach is whether a person using a screen magnifier would know to look for the check box to the right of your label, and the second issue is whether they would be able to reliably cross the widest gaps to get from a label to its checkbox.

If you can solve those two issues, then there is no problem with putting the check boxes to the right of their labels. Any of a number of different CSS-based solutions could solve those issues for you.

Also, speaking from the standpoint of usability, Caroline Jarrett, author of Forms That Work, says that from her research the important thing about the physical positions of form labels is that they should occur where your users expect to find them. So if your documents, Web pages, apps, or forms are used by a community that fully expects the check boxes to be aligned to the right of the labels, that's where you should put them.

Best regards,
Cliff Tyllick

From: Phil Evans <pae9@star.le.ac.uk>
To: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
Cc: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:35 AM
Subject: Re: Question re: WCAG2.0, Requirement 3.3.2

Forgive the continued questions on this issue but:

> Having labels on the right for radio buttons and checkboxes is very
> important to users of screen magnification software.  Screen magnification
> will align the left edge of the magnified area before the checkmark and the
> text of the checkmark and radio button will often go past the edge of the
> magnified area on the right.  When the label is on the left the checkmark
> would likely be out of view.

Surely this would also be an issue for other form controls as well, 
rather than just radio/checkboxes?

In the specific case that triggered this issue for me, I actually have 
multiple form controls on one line (as makes logical sense for the 
specific use of this form) -- see the attached snapshot. In other places
(e.g. http://www.swift.ac.uk/user_objects/ -- currently being revised), 
the form follows a consistent layout, and would certainly look rather 
odd and be clumsy to use if the checkboxes preceded their labels, 
whereas the text boxes suceeded theirs. Is your suggestion that these 
examples would be difficult for users with screen magnifiers to use?


> This positioning is mentioned as an advisory technique under 1.3.1 and
> mentioned under G162
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20101014/G162  So while it's not
> required it strongly benefits users with low vision.  Sometimes it seems
> like the standards and their implementation focus primarily on certain
> disability groups and other user groups needs are not fully met.
> For example, guidance on not using color to convey meaning indicated that
> provide an off-screen alternative such as a title attribute or text
> positioned off-screen would meet the requirement although this information
> would be NOT obtainable for someone not using a screen reader who was
> colorblind.  It similar to the old skip navigation idea where skip
> navigation links were just hidden for screen reader users but not available
> to other keyboard users who do not use screen readers.
> Jonathan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
> Of Charles McCathieNevile
> Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3:33 AM
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org; Phil Evans
> Subject: Re: Question re: WCAG2.0, Requirement 3.3.2
> Hi Phil,
> On Wed, 15 Jun 2011 09:01:11 +0200, Phil Evans<pae9@star.le.ac.uk>  wrote:
> ...
>> "3.3.2 Labels or Instructions: Labels or instructions are provided when
>> content requires user input. (Level A) "
>> This seems straightforward enough. However, following via the link "How
>> to meet 3.3.2" leads to the page:
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20101014/H44
>> which includes the line, 'Note that the label is positioned after input
>> elements of type="checkbox" and type="radio".'
>> It is not clear to me whether this is a *requirement* or not (although
>> the validator I am using assumes it is). That is, is the following part
>> of a form OK or not?
> The text is part of an old requirement (written when implementation of
> <label>  wasn't very good) which called for *consistent* placement of
> labels in relation to controls, and suggested that the *common* pattern
> for checkboxes was to place text after them.
> While you should certainly ensure that you layout is consistent, I don't
> think you need to worry so much whether your labels are typically before
> or after the thing they are labeling (so long as they have proper markup
> they are likely to be useful in most modern software).
> IMHO, of course
> cheers
> Chaals


Phil Evans,
Swift Development Scientist
X-ray and Observational Astronomy Group,
University of Leicester

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5059
Mobile: +44 (0)7780 980240

Follow me as a Swift scientist on Twitter: @swift_phil
Received on Thursday, 16 June 2011 02:07:26 UTC

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