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Re: "Disabled" vs. "Read-only"


From: Robinson, Norman B
Date: Jan 4, 2008 2:20PM

The best course of action is to simply not provide the _fields_
at all - if they don't provide information.

Otherwise, if you can't edit them, you don't want them in tab
order, but they supply information then write them as part of the web
content. Don't make them a form element.

Hope I'm understanding your question!


Norman B. Robinson
Office of Accessible Systems and Technology
Department of Homeland Security
v: 202-447-0322; c: 202-834-3192; fax: 202-447-0582

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Cliff Tyllick
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2008 3:21 PM
Subject: [WebAIM] "Disabled" vs. "Read-only"

Our developers have informed me of a problem with the forms in one of
our Web applications. We have designated fields as disabled, because the
user cannot edit them and we do not want the tab to stop in them. But,
in IE, the text in these fields shows up in such a light shade of gray
that the color contrast ratio fails miserably---as low as 1.5:1 for
portions of plain text; no better than 2.4:1 for bold text. Low-vision
users, including at least one person at our agency with normal vision
but a bright office, have trouble even seeing the text.

I'm told we could fix the contrast problem by making the fields
read-only---but then they would look and, with respect to tab order, act
just like editable fields. So then users would be misled about their

Anyone else dealt with this tightrope? Any successes?