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Accessibility of complex HTML forms

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From: Gerard Corboz
Date: Jun 25, 2003 11:36PM


Having done quite a bit of research into making accessible HTML forms, I
feel quite confident in regards to simple forms but I am not so sure in
regards to complex forms.

What I mean by a simple HTML form might a form, that might simply ask for
name, address, date of birth, phone number, and email address. This is
obviously a very simple form that does not have any triggers or jumps.

What I mean by a complex form is one that contains triggers or jumps. For
example, the form might ask if the user has children. If the user answers
yes then the user is expected to answer a large subset of questions related
to their children. Alternatively if the user does not have children, they
must skip to question xxx.

One way to handle the complex form example I described above is to use DHTML
such that if a user answers yes to having children, the children related
questions will dynamically appear.

What I'd like to know is how do screen readers handle this kind of DHTML?
Will the screen reader start from the top of the page thinking that the page
it is reading is new or will it continue reading from where I left off?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how one could provide a solution for the
complex form example above that is usable and accessible?

Regards

Gerard Corboz
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fax: 6214 0964
mobile: 0402 236 358
http://www.perform.net.au
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