[whatwg] Context help in Web Forms

Charles McCathieNevile chaals at opera.com
Fri Nov 7 01:00:20 PST 2008

Adding HTML-WG so people know what's going on and can comment if necessary.

On Wed, 22 Oct 2008 14:42:48 +0700, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:

[in the context of a request for a way to identify context-specific help,  
e.g. some further information about a given form field that can  be made  
available without requiring the user to read it].

> I don't understand how inline text is inaccessible. Could you elaborate?
> An example would be useful.

Large quantities of text reduce the overall accessibility of a page in a
couple of ways.

The most common is actually making the page harder to read - and reading
difficulties are very common as a type of disability. The effect can be
very mild (it is a bit slower) or very severe (many people actually find
it incredibly difficult to read something if there is too much text there).
(For this reason, designers will often look for ways not to have the text
present in the page's default view...)

The other common problem it introduces is reducing the ability of users to
navigate efficiently. This applies especially to screen reader users who
are "scanning" text by skipping through it. One of the benefits HTML
provides over plain text is the various navgiable structures to improve
this situation - having a lot of inline text can negate some of that
improvement, especially if it is not marked in a way that makes it clear
that it is ancillary to the main content. (One of the problems with
visible metadata is that people assume that since it is visible it doesn't
really need more markup...)

>> Hixie had said...
>> > Great! Thanks. I think your idea of making rel="help" be relative to  
>> > the nearest parent <label> is a good one. We could also say it is >  
>> relative to the nearest parent <label>, <body>, <section>, <form>,
>> > <fieldset>, or other such grouping element. I'll look at this in
>> > more detail when defining the rel="" values.
> Chaals replied:
>> Cool. The idea is that the thing is really reliably discoverable -
>> otherwise authors will come up with something that makes sense but
>> breaks the implicit model that the spec is built on. I am actually not
>> sure that we mean the same thing when we say "nearest" but I will talk
>> to you off the list about that to clarify that in my mind :-)
> Ok.
> rel=help is now defined to apply to the link element's parent and its
> children.

Thanks, this seems sound to me.



Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
      je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com

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