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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Placeholders

    Bobby fails a page of mine under priority 3 because it says I need to "include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas." In other words it wants default text in the form fields and radio/checkboxes checked. Personally I detest that, is it really an issue?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    Only if you regard it as one.

    If you're running your stuff through Bobby then presumably what it recommends matters to you, so why not just go with the flow on this one?

    Is there any particular reason you're set against it?
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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    a workaround that - apparently - causes no problems: add a default single blank space (i.e. value=" ") to your text boxes (and if necessary strip it out again in the page that handles the form receipt).

    the reason for requiring default text is that some old browsers (apprently) "forget" to display any input fields that don't have any default value.

    various workarounds exist, one of the popular ones being to add a default, long-winded text and then having javascript onfocus/onblur behaviours to wipe it clean ready for user input. however, using javascript creates more of an accessibility problem than the problem it's trying to solve. imagine the frustration of users (with disabilities or otherwise) without javascript who have to first delete the default text, and then type in what they want to type...

    so yes, single blank space will do for all intents and purpouses...
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    SitePoint Wizard
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    Bill I'm not particularly bothered about Bobby but when checking a site for accessibility I would run it through the checker. It's just something I've never seen before and if it's a WAI guideline then I need to take note.

    I think I'll go with the single space workaround, thanks again redux.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    You're missing the point.

    Workarounds in this case defeat the purpose of the specification.

    I'm sure the specification is there for user-oriented reasons, not technical, so working around it for the sake of a clean bill of health is effectively the same as completely ignoring it.

    A 'clean bill of health', whilst satisfying to you, actually means nothing as you've simply 'tricked' the spec test into thinking you've made the recommended user-oriented adjustments to your site.
    You may as well just ignore that spec and leave the fields entirely blank.

    Either the spec test matters or it doesn't.
    If it does, then follow the true purpose of the Bobby recommendations and use something useful in your form fields.

    If it doesn't, then leave it blank, live with the imperfect Bobby report and be satisfied that you've followed the bits that matter to you.
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    SitePoint Wizard
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    Ok let's step back, I'm really not worried what Bobby thinks, I'm more concerned about meeting WAI Priority 3 guidelines. Is this a necessity under these guidelines? I personally find it annoying having to delete text already entered into text boxes. Is the only reason for having a default value as redux says, cos old browsers "forget" to display the input boxes?

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard Bill Posters's Avatar
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    I dunno. I don't even follow or check against WAI or Bobby guidelines.

    My posts may have been a bit dry in their delivery, so forgive me if I appeared to be 'on a mission'. I'm not.
    I just thought that if you were gonna do it, do it properly.

    It's all good.

    Anyway, I'll step back and let someone in the know 'tell you' what you should do.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Bill your input is appreciated, I totally got what you meant about the work around

  9. #9
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Posters
    Workarounds in this case defeat the purpose of the specification.

    I'm sure the specification is there for user-oriented reasons, not technical, so working around it for the sake of a clean bill of health is effectively the same as completely ignoring it.
    Bill, in this case the workaround is purely of a technical nature, not a user-oriented one.

    to quote from http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/#gl-interim-accessibility
    Guideline 10. Use interim solutions.

    Use interim accessibility solutions so that assistive technologies and older browsers will operate correctly.

    For example, older browsers do not allow users to navigate to empty edit boxes. Older screen readers read lists of consecutive links as one link. These active elements are therefore difficult or impossible to access.

    [...]

    10.4 Until user agents handle empty controls correctly, include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas. [Priority 3]
    For example, in HTML, do this for TEXTAREA and INPUT.
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  10. #10
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Well I can understand having a radio button checked since that's the whole idea of Radio buttons to select 'one' from a group.

    Yes, I can understand why the null string would be least intrusive to the user. However, the "Until user agents..." term appears quite a lot in the Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, really it is rather vaguely defined: http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT-...il-user-agents

    Then it becomes a case of determining what user-agents and audience that is most likely to view the page since I know browsers like Mozilla 1.x meet the criteria for various "Until user agents…" checkpoints which Netscape Communicator 4.7x would fail… I suppose you have to time travel back to the year 2000, or just play safe.


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