Nice to see this topic!

I agree with all Steve's points below, and add from personal  
experience watching blind users: we know tab order is important to  
most users -  but tab order and field labels are particularly  
important to blind users. I have watched blind users get quite irked  
when the tab order is illogical and/or field labels don't make sense  
to the purpose of the form.

I'd also add to stay away from  single-select drop-down lists that  
add additional fields on selection.  The form constantly changes as  
the user tries to make her/his way through the drop-down list -   
quite crazy-making for blind users when each element on the list is  
treated as a selection as it is read.

On Feb 25, 2009, at 2:58 AM, Steven Pemberton wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Feb 2009 23:18:51 +0100, <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Does anyone have any research or personal experience observing  
>> blind users using online forms with screen readers? Specifically,  
>> do blind users
>
> The place to ask this sort of question is on the W3C WAI lists,...

> As I understand it, there are two approaches to accessibility  
> software... These two approaches can cause a difference in how  
> blind users use a form....
>
> My limited experience with blind users filling in forms says that  
> they do the same as sighted readers: sometimes they scan the form  
> first, and sometimes, especially if they already know the form,  
> they just pile in.

Absolutely-  it's important to not confuse needs with human  
behaviors. Blind users have special NEEDS, but still have the same  
range of behaviors as any other user. :-)

> Accessibility software often has to use heuristics, for instance to  
> tell which label belongs to which input control. There is currently  
> work going on in WAI-ARIA to improve this situation, allowing pages  
> to be more exactly marked up, to reduce the need for heuristics.

Best wishes,
Marilyn Tahl

"Empathy is not just about stepping into another's shoes. First you  
must remove your own shoes."  - Indian proverb


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