WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: PDF forms: all form field-related information read out twice


From: Olaf Drümmer
Date: Jun 24, 2014 2:36AM

Hello Nasrin,

On 24 Jun 2014, at 10:00, Nasrin Saef < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> Currently, the text in the
> document is tagged, and the form fields have tool tips - both are read out.

this is a matter of how assistive technology presents this.

The underlying problem is as follows:
- if a user steps through just the form fields, without reading the content around a field, all the user might have access to is the 'tool tip'; I guess this would be considered useful and appropriate from an accessibility point of view
- if a user sequentially reads the document, she will read the usual content - the text before and after form fields, which usually contains enough information to understand the form fields - but possibly will also be presented the tool tip. The presentation of the tool tip nevertheless is a function of the assistive technology used. If that assistive technology happens to be a screen reader for blind or low vision users, this can indeed be annoying, though most screen readers also have features to skip pieces of information being presented. A good screen reader would also have an option to skip tool tips when reading in sequential mode. One could think of other types of assistive technology, e.g. for dyslexic users, where current text might be displayed selectively in small portions (to visually read), and upon encountering a form field, the tool tip might read out loud in addition to the visual display.

All in all I'd say that duplication of information in regular page content and - in this case - in the tool tips for form fields is a good thing, and it is up to the tool being used to do the right thing. Also please keep in mind that when thinking of assistive technology not to always only think of screen readers. Blind and low vision users are a relatively small percentage of people with disabilities (in other words: there are lots of people with different needs).