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RE: Inactive Buttons - ALT Tags?


From: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Date: Dec 23, 2005 9:40AM

> The problem (at least in JAWS) is that disabled form elements
> are not read when navigating through the form. They are not
> 'navigable'. They are read if you simply let the screen
> reader read though the contents of the page, but are skipped
> when tabbing through the links/form elements of the page,
> which is how most forms are going to be completed.
> Visually one could see that the form element is there, but
> disabled. A screen reader user likely will not even know it exists.

I can agree that in this case it would be desireable for the button to
be tabbable and announced when in forms mode, but not in all cases would
you want disabled controls to be voiced.

Imagine a pair of radio buttons for a search engine - one reads "no
language preference" and the other reads "I have preferred languages".
If the second is selected then there is a list of many languages that
are labels for checkboxes for the user to indicate choices. If the user
doesn't want to set a language, should they have to tab through
everycheckbox? They can hear them out of forms mode, but it is
convenient to skip them for both the keyboard and screen reader user.

Better control of whether a disabled item is in the tab order
(particularly for SR users) would be useful here.

In this case, the button appears enabled when information is typed into
the form. If the user enters forms mode they are likely to enter
information into the form, so they would encounter a fully enabled
button. The only time that there would be an issue is when they want to
revew every field in the form before typing anything - but would users
notice that the submit button is missing? I doubt it.

I'd vote for the button in this situation, but wouldn't balk too much at
the solution you propose either.