[thelist] accessible way to indicate that a form field is required

Barney Carroll barney at textmatters.com
Fri Nov 17 12:03:49 CST 2006

Max Schwanekamp wrote:
> True enough, but how does a screen reader treat an asterisk?  I'd think 
> it would be irritating to hear "asterisk" after all the required fields. 
>   "Fields marked with an asterisk (asterisk) are required.  First Name 
> asterisk...Last Name asterisk...Email asterisk..." etc.

Perhaps - and whereas I agree that the word 'asterisk' is aesthetically 
more ugly than 'bold'... It's just as much of an obstacle to what would 
be relatively human speech. An invisible entry of '- this field is 
required' would be the alternative to using 'non-speech' denotation.

I can see this conversation deteriorating (or ascending) into a 
combination of pure philosophy and idle speculation about the behaviour 
of screen readers - which I have stoked on many discussion lists and 
boards, and most of which were pretty reasonably closed by admin because 
of their vague and OT nature. I did make contact with somebody who you 
might find useful, one Steve Green who directs Test Partners Ltd, an 
accessibility testing company. They regularly run seminars open to the 
public during which partial and non- sighted people surf sites using JAWS.



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