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RE: defining focus


From: Paul Bohman
Date: Mar 12, 2003 2:40PM

I was in the middle of typing my response when Jared posted his. We ended up
saying almost exactly the same thing (even using the same example), but I
thought I'd post my comments anyway, just to confirm what he said:

If the page loads quickly, and if there is a good reason to put the focus in
a form element, then this can be a good thing. For example, www.google.com.
This page loads quickly, and I'd guess that 99% percent of the people who go
to that page go there for the purpose of typing in a query. In this case, I
think it makes sense.

People who use the keyboard or people that use screen readers will benefit
from this situation in about the same way that a non-disabled person will.

However, if the page takes a while to load, it is possible that the person
could start navigating through the page before the page is through loading,
and then, when the page is fully loaded, the focus could suddenly jump from
where the user would like to be over to the place that the programmer wants
them to be. This has happened to me on more than a few ocassions, and it is
a bit annoying. The disorientation can be even a little bit worse for users
of screen readers.

I guess you could say that my opinion is that it depends--but it isn't a
decision to take lightly.

Paul Bohman
Technology Coordinator
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Center for Persons with Disabilities
Utah State University

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-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Ferrick [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 10:19 AM
Subject: defining focus

I hope I'm not prematurely asking the list about this.

Are there any particular issues with setting focus onto a form field with
Javascript? It feels like an undesiable practice to me just by its very
nature, but I'd like to hear your thoughts as well. If you know of any
documentation explaing either pro on con, that'd be a great help as well.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Dave Ferrick

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