[whatwg] Context help in Web Forms

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Sat Jun 11 07:46:58 PDT 2005

On Sat, 11 Jun 2005, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> > 
> > At one point we considered having a second attribute with a URI, 
> > help="", similar to the XForms equivalent, for more detailed 
> > context-sensitive help. However, we got feedback from implementors and 
> > Web designers saying it wouldn't be that useful since it was not 
> > discoverable, and so it was removed.
> Hang on, you mean the people who would implement the discovery mechanism 
> said there won't be one, so they don't recommend it? I presume not, but 
> that's how I keep reading this. Can you please clarify?

Sorry, I should have been clearer. We got feedback from implementors 
saying they couldn't think of a way to make it discoverable, and we got 
feedback from Web descigners saying it wouldn't be useful if it wasn't 
discoverable. (Several suggestions were made as to how to make it 
discoverable, but none were considered good from a usability perspective.)

> > In HTML5 it is likely that a rel="" value for the <a> element will be 
> > introduced which could be used to provide context-sensitive help while 
> > still having discoverability for the common case: the link would be 
> > visible in the markup, and the UA would be able to determine the 
> > closest matching such link (according to a given algorithm) when 
> > looking for help.
> I guess you were thinking "closest form control" or something.

I meant closest link, from the perspective of a form control.

> "Nearness" seems in general like a really bad way to guess where the 
> help is. Do you mean closest in the markup, or in the laid-out 
> rendering? If the link were required to be inside a label in order to be 
> associated with a form control, that might make sense though.

I have noted this for when rel="help" is defined.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

More information about the whatwg mailing list