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Understandable Guidelines

Lesson 11 of Section 3

Readable

Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable

Language of Page

Make text content readable and understandable.

All webpages require this. In addition to the sections outlined below, your articles should practice proper English, including proper spelling and grammar. If it is possible to use simple terminology instead of complicated wording, you should do so.

The default human language of each Web page can be programmatically determined.

This is a very simple section. Since McMaster uses English as our primary language, you must ensure that your XHTML webpage uses the following header and HTML tag format (skip code):


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">

This will allow your page to be recognized as written in the English language by default.

Language of Parts

The human language of each passage or phrase in the content can be programmatically determined except for proper names, technical terms, words of indeterminate language, and words or phrases that have become part of the vernacular of the immediately surrounding text.

This is also another simple section that is only needed if your webpage contains phrases from another language. When you encounter a phrase in a different language in your document, you can use the lang and xml:lang attributes to specify this alternate language. For example (skip code):


<blockquote xml:lang="de" lang="de">
  <p>
    Da dachte der Herr daran, ihn aus dem Futter zu schaffen,
    aber der Esel merkte, da kein guter Wind wehte, lief fort
    und machte sich auf den Weg nach Bremen: dort, meinte er,
    konnte er ja Stadtmusikant werden.
  </p>
</blockquote>

Predictable

Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.

All webpages require this. These sections govern how operable a Web page is. Similar to driving a car, there is a standard of how a web page is supposed to operate and how people expect to use it.

On Focus

When any component receives focus, it does not initiate a change of context.

You must ensure that all onfocus or attributes in every element do not do any of the following:

  • Change focus to another element inside the webpage.
  • Change the URL location of the webpage (thus loading another webpage).
  • Submit forms automatically.
  • Launch new windows.

If any elements do the above when focus is received, it violates this section.

On Input

Changing the setting of any user interface component does not automatically cause a change of context unless the user has been advised of the behavior before using the component.

This is the same as On Focus except it applies to the onchange attribute instead of onfocus. Your onchange attribute or JavaScript "change" binding shouldn't do any of the following:

  • Change focus to another element inside the webpage.
  • Change the URL location of the webpage (thus loading another webpage).
  • Submit forms automatically.
  • Launch new windows.

If any elements do the above when an element is changed, it violates this section. Instead of using onchange, you should instead use submit buttons that will relay the message "Do it," "Go," or even "Apply changes." If information is submitted without actually changing the context of the web page (like through AJAX), then this is acceptable, although you may need to be concerned about error prevention (discussed later).

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Sources

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