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RE: Radio Buttons Again!


From: John Foliot - WATS.ca
Date: Oct 20, 2003 9:56AM


Radio Buttons, Radio Buttons...

Might I also suggest to all that if/whenever possible the <select> form
input provides greater usability/accessibility for a number of reasons;

1) as previously pointed out, the ordering of radio buttons *may* have a
cognitive impact, not only for users with developmental issues, but even for
inexperienced or "mainstream" users [()radio button radio button()]. I
believe this is the point Jukka was making.

2) as this thread has pointed out, use of the <label> element is restrictive
for this form input, another area of potential negative impact.

3) users with mobility impairment issues often find that radio buttons and
checkboxes are "problematic". I have had much experience working with an
associate who is a quadriplegic and who uses voice recognition software to
access both the web and other applications. While not ideal, the software
(in his case either Dragon Dictate or the newer Dragon Naturally Speaking)
often lacks what I referred to as "fine motor control", as his ability to
move the cursor or page focus often reminds me of watching very young
children using the mouse... getting it on "target" is often a challenge.
This behaviour is more pronounced on laptop computers or older machines
lacking CPU/RAM, as the voice recognition apps are very memory intensive...
there is often a delay between "speaking" a command and the actual
implementation. And while he can "tab" through form inputs using the
software, it too has it's issues. As a result, he usually prefers the
<select> over radio buttons. From a "programming" perspective, both options
provide a means of entering a single controlled response, yet from a
usability/accessibility perspective one is clearly easier for him to use.
From a design point of view, <select>s also require less "real estate",
making forms appear "shorter", etc.... another usability "benefit".


Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca 1.866.932.4878 (North America)

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