Web Forms and Accessibility

Recently my skills were challenged at work when I was asked to update the look-and-feel for our library’s newspapers index search page.

Challenges:

  1. I don’t code in ColdFusion, so please don’t make me break anything.
  2. Oh myyy… when was this Alaska State Look & Feel standard instituted? Which means, this table layout design has got to go!
  3. It doesn’t live on our division’s server… again, don’t make me break anything.
  4. And… that pesky need for accessibility. All sorts of people have reasons to search our newspapers. But can they?

news_old

It was a good day’s work sorting out the design and de-cluttering a bit of the mess, but I was pretty proud of myself in the end. However…. (sigh) search functionality breakage was inevitable. But after I sorted out the CF connections between the search and results pages, it was smooth sailing after that.

news_new

My takeaway from this project was web accessibility: use the label tag for mouse users who need a wide berth to click. It was neglected in the previous version, as were many helpful and modern tags, but my update has included them. Another experiment: autofocus thanks to HTML5. But I’m still deciding if that’s a good idea or not?

I spent some time reading through w3schools forms tutorials to update my knowledge of recent HTML improvements. Maybe you’ll find it useful, too!

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