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Re: Appropriate to use textarea to display text?


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Apr 30, 2005 3:22PM

On Sat, 30 Apr 2005, Don Hinshaw wrote:

>> I am updating an existing site and they currently use a textarea to
>> display "terms of use" information. It seems like that could be
>> potentially confusing

It is, and more importantly it is foolish and annoying. It reminds people
of the absurd stamp-size windows in which they are expected to read a
dozen pages long "terms of contract" legalese text. _Nobody_ reads them.
In court, an intelligent judge may realize that, and find the terms more
or less null and void.

>> -- a visitor using a screen reader might think
>> they were in a form they were required to input text to.

Perhaps. And perhaps a scrollable div would be technically better.
But it still tells the user that this is one of the irritatingly
absurd "terms of contract" texts.

>> <input type="checkbox" name="checkbox" value="accept" id="termsAccept">
>> <label for="termsAccept">I have read and accept the <a
>> href="terms.html">terms of use.</label></a>

That's foolish, but if your company's legion of lawyers say that you need
it (probably without being able to present actual evidence), then maybe
you need to please them and not your users.

>> <input type="checkbox" name="checkbox2" value="decline" id="termsDecline">
>> <label for="termsDecline">I do not accept the <a href="terms.html">terms
>> of use.</label></a>

This, in turn, serves no other purpose but looking foolish. So the use who
does not accept the terms is told to select this checkbox and submit the
form and get a "go away" message? If you think users do not understand
that they need to check the "yes" box, then go ahead and tell them _that_.

Most importantly, ask yourself whether you really need to require anything
like that. There are lots of free services on the Web that can only be
used after going through a pointless procedure of lying that you read
something that has no real impact on anything. There are even socially
disabled peopled who have a strange obsession of telling the truth and
not telling lies the normal way.

-- Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/