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Re: ARIA and Label tags both for Error Messages


From: Hewitt,Susan (DSHS)
Date: Feb 12, 2014 6:33AM

From an earlier message:
>We don't use the title attribute because less users had it set to read out in our survey about 18 months ago. Has this changed?

I used to be pretty strict in discouraging the use of title attributes as earlier versions of JAWS needed a user to change the default settings to read title. But we're on version 15 now (right?) and at some point you have to move on (see IE6.) I believe VO will always read title. Shamefully, I'm not sure about other screen readers.

When it comes to form fields where a visible field doesn't make sense, I now ask developers to use title before ARIA. I say this because ARIA is there to fill in when existing HTML elements aren't enough and I believe using title is acceptable and preferred in that situation. BUT I would not use it for error messages as it wouldn't be available to keyboard-only (not screen reader) users. There's no way for them to access that "tooltip" pop-up a mouse gets with a title attribute. Steve Faulkner has a lot of good information and thoughts on title here: http://blog.paciellogroup.com/2013/01/using-the-html-title-attribute-updated/

As far as " 4) They also want ARIA, though it looks like a consensus that we should push back on having both," at the end of the day too much information is better than none.

Susan Hewitt
EIR Accessibility Coordinator
Texas Department of State Health Services
<EMAIL REMOVED> | 512-776-2913

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Susan Grossman
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:47 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] ARIA and Label tags both for Error Messages

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM, Jukka K. Korpela < <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> 2014-02-11 23:48, Susan Grossman wrote:

Really appreciate the response. My remarks are inline prefaced with an asterisk.

> We have been associating error messages to form fields using
>> aria-describedby, and the screen reader users who tested it thought
>> it worked well for them.
> What kind of error messages are we talking about, and how do they
> work? Is it a message from a client-side check, or from a server-side check?

*We have put the describedby attribute in the form element, with it's value being the ID of the direct container holding the form error message. This is not an error that validates as user moves on or a simple pattern that can be caught in the UI.

> The aria-describedby attribute is supposed to provide information
> about a field, not about an error condition.

*Describedby appends to the label and the messages are carefully written to describe the condition of the form element error in conjunction with the label. Isn't the error state information about the field?

> We have gotten some push back from a federal agency saying that no
> ARIA is
>> supported well enough to rely on and that we must you both aria and
>> label tags to associate the error messages.
> The label element is supposed to associate a label with a control. It
> would seem to be entirely inappropriate to use it to associate an
> error message with anything.

*This is not an uncommon practice for sites dealing with the government to
use labels like this - to associate a form error message. I'm questioning
whether this practice has validity still, and that if it does, doesn't including aria (for the modern users they state) a poor idea.

*We don't use the title attribute because less users had it set to read out in our survey about 18 months ago. Has this changed?

> Yucca
> > > list messages to <EMAIL REMOVED>

*Susan R. Grossman*