WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Help Database Integration


From: Peter Shikli
Date: May 16, 2017 3:34PM

As part of all our online applications, we have integrated HelpMeister, a
database we built of help records for each application. On our
applications, every field label on every form has a link to display a help
page about that field. Every such field label also has an onmouseover to
display an abridged tooltip version of the help record. The help record
content displayed can vary based on user preference settings like
proficiency and language.

We can do the standard accessibility fix using a label tag with for and id
attributes to connect an input to its field label, and onfocus with the
onmouseover, but we still have the field's help separate from the input,
for example:
<A HREF=HelpMeister ALT="Help for this field"><LABEL
<INPUT ID="Name" TYPE="TEXT" NAME="name" >

We use tabindex so sighted users tab from input to input entering data in
a table, mouse clicking on the left-hand field label's help as needed. If
we expand the tabindex to include the help links, we annoy sighted users
and the blind who don't need so much help.

I can think of some rather inelegant solutions, like designating a hot key
such as the Windows F1 help key to jump back (left) to the help link,
hoping the user is in an input when they click the F1 key. I'm hoping the
community has a better idea.
Peter Shikli
FAX: 213-337-7029
29030 SW Town Center Loop East
Suite 202-187
Wilsonville, OR 97070
Prison inmates helping the blind