W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-forms@w3.org > February 2007

RE: checkbox labels

From: Klotz, Leigh <Leigh.Klotz@xerox.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 12:32:25 -0800
Message-ID: <E254B0A7E0268949ABFE5EA97B7D0CF402C0897B@usa7061ms01.na.xerox.net>
To: <Kirk.Johnson@zootweb.com>, "Aaron Reed" <aaronr@us.ibm.com>
Cc: <www-forms@w3.org>, <www-forms-request@w3.org>

Control is what's important; ideally it should be done through CSS or
through influence of the host language (HTML in this case).
Some XForms processors extend the appearance hint attribute to make it

Take a look at http://www.google.com/advanced_search for a design

I count 9 short typein input fields; in 7 of them the labels are on the
left, and they are block style, column aligned.

In 2, the controls are inline, and I would suspect the labels would be
styled with no display in a desktop browser but with descriptive labels
which would be styled to show in other CSS media (screen reader, audio,

In 1 ("domain") the label includes other form controls, and is on the
left. (I think this answers recent questions about allowing form
controls in labels!)

There are 7 selection (menu/pulldown) fields, and in 4 of them, the
labels are on the left.
One of those includes a nested selection field, which itself has no
The other two are label-free (self-describing in the choice labels).
Presumably again, they would have real labels for accessibility but they
just wouldn't show on the desktop.

There is one selection styled as a radio button.  Its label is on the
left, and its hint is inline on the right.

I think a good challenege to XForms+host language vendors would be to
reproduce a page like this, tastefully.



-----Original Message-----
From: www-forms-request@w3.org [mailto:www-forms-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Kirk.Johnson@zootweb.com
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:39 AM
To: Aaron Reed
Cc: www-forms@w3.org; www-forms-request@w3.org
Subject: Re: checkbox labels

www-forms-request@w3.org wrote on 01/31/2007 02:49:55 PM:

> I noticed that every xforms processor that I tried put the labels for 
> boolean inputs (usually rendered as checkboxes) to the left of the 
> checkbox even though the overwhelming preference for html forms is to 
> have the label on the right of a checkbox.

I think "overwhelming preference" understates the prevalence of this 
design rule. I don't have a single piece of software on my computer
the labels are anywhere but to the right of a boolean control. Not one.

I have yet to get my feet wet with XForms, so there is no point in
to hide my ignorance when I ask: Are you serious? The labels are being 
placed to the left?

I am not aware of a single usability design reference that departs from 
the "on the right" guideline. If the current "XForms way" is to put the 
labels on the left, I respectfully suggest it is time to get someone
usability design skills involved in XForms and reconsider this.

Received on Thursday, 1 February 2007 20:40:34 UTC

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