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Re: Legend wrap (or not)


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Aug 31, 2007 12:30AM

On Thu, 30 Aug 2007, Andrew Kirkpatrick wrote:

>> Do people actually use such AT in a mode like that? Then the
>> vast majority of forms on web pages will be inaccessible to
>> them, at least if the skipping extends to any text inside a
>> form not wrapped into any container element. (If it's just p
>> and headings, it's very weird: it would punish authors - and
>> users - for the use of adequate markup.)
> Yep, there are so many keyboard commands that form functionality
> keystrokes overlaps so a separate mode is needed. Users can and do
> enter and exit forms mode during the course of interaction with a form,
> however, so the information is not gone, it just isn't as readily
> presented.

So this means that if we design a form logically, using explanatory texts
as needed for filling out the form, using legend (or heading) elements as
short heading-like captions, and using concise labels associated with
input elements via markup, the form will be generally accessible, though
with some need for mode switching to some users. And I would expect those
users to be or to get familiar with mode switching, since the vast
majority of forms - perhaps excluding very simple and intuitive search
forms - on web pages have not been designed to suit the specifics of the
software they use.

This avoids the problem of lengthy legends.

The alternative of designing forms so that all the information in it is
wrapped in legend and label elements would mean serious accessibility
problems. For example, if some question really needs a lengthy explanation
before it can be asked and answered, should all that appear inside a
legend element, resulting in a rather odd rendering on normal graphic
browsers? What would you do with explanatory texts containing links to
additional information, for people who may need it? And putting all the
explanations and links _before_ the form is not reasonable at all if the
form is relatively long and the explanations and links relate to specific
parts there.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/