Accessible, stylish form layout

24 March 2004

72 comments

A Blue Perspective: Accessible, stylish form layout

» Form layout templates «

Yes, HTML forms are the worst things known to web designers. Yes, HTML forms have to be accessible and usable. No, HTML forms do not have to be an eyesore.

As the unwanted orphan of web pages, forms are neglected by many and designed by few. Most people are content to put in some text fields, some bold text and a submit button. I've come across quite a few tutorials on how to make forms as eye-achingly colourful as possible, and on how to customise form widgets in ways that Safari promptly ignores, but I can't find any articles telling you how to use semantic, accessible code along with CSS to make better form layout. Layout is where most of the problems lie with forms – grouping objects, labeling fields, helping the user cope with the amount of information that they have to fill in. The only article I could find relating to Standards and form layout was a rather oldish Eric Meyer throwback. So, as a service to the web design community, I have journeyed into the foul depths of forms for the last few days, and come out all the more wiser. Here is the tale of my travels ...

The semantics

The code I've used in my form templates is all the same, and entirely semantic. There's more than enough valid form data tags to give CSS the ability to style all elements, so there's no need to introduce any superfluous divs or spans. (Note: The "horizontal" and "margin" forms mightn't look terribly hot in Safari or Opera. This is easily rectified using divs to clear the floated elements, but I didn't want to clutter up the code. Feel free to add them in your own experimentation)

For usability and accesibility reasons, every form element on a page should have an associated label. Not only do labels let you focus a form element by clicking on its label text (no more fiddling around clicking on the exact circle that is the radio button), but they enable non-visual browsers to create an association between the label text and the form element, allowing each distinct item to be more readily identified.

To assign a label to a form element, you need to give the element an id, then reference that id using the label's "for" attribute:

<label for="elementID">
Label text
<input id="elementID" type="text" />
</label>

The form element doesn't have to be nested inside the label tag, but I've used this method as it gives an extra level for the CSS to refer to.

Aside from the label tag, the only other item that may be unfamiliar to you is the "fieldset" tag. A fieldset tag groups together semantically similar form elements, for instance the three elements that could make up someone's name: title, first name, last name. By grouping these three elements using a fieldset tag it helps to quantify their association, and allow visual and non-visual browsers alike to more easily navigate a form. The legend tag works alongside the fieldset tag, providing it with a title, like so:

<fieldset>
<legend>
Fieldset title
</legend>
<label for="elementID">
Label text
<input id="elementID" name="elementID" type="text" />
</label>
<label for="elementID2">
Label text 2
<input id="elementID2" name="elementID2" type="text" />
</label>
</fieldset>

Once you've coded up the HTML for your form, it's then a simple matter of applying some CSS rules to turn it from an inline mess to a floated wonder. Each of the templates has a description of how it's styled at the top, this should help you if you decide to play around with the CSS rules. I've purposely not styled any of the form elements themselves (beyond width and positioning), as the focus here is on structure and layout. Undoubtedly, further styling would increase the aesthetics and usability of the forms, but such design is much more site-dependent and best left to your own imagination.

Gripes

Probably the only difficulty in styling semantic forms is the legend tag. It is insufferably variable across browsers. In Mozilla, the legend tag is not left-indented from the body of the fieldset, in IE and Opera it is. In Mozilla, the legend tag is positioned in between the fieldset's border and its content, in IE and Opera it is positioned inside the content. This makes it very hard to move the legend inside the fieldset border, or position it flush to the left of the fieldset, as you get varying effects across browsers. I'd use a CSS hack, but that's not me. This means you either neglect the legend tag – and its obvious accessibility benefits – for hx tags (as in my last example), or you retain the standard fieldset border, with legend at the top. I don't know ... I'm growing to like the fieldset borders.

Hopefully my efforts haven't been in vain, and you find something useful in my form experimentation; I at least know that I did. If you have any queries about the techniques involved, don't hesitate to ask.

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Comments

  1. 1/72

    RMCox commented on 24 March 2004 @ 07:08

    Your efforts are most certainly not in vain; you've provided a clear explanation and great examples that make this is an excellent resource, thanks!

  2. 2/72

    Brad commented on 24 March 2004 @ 11:47

    Nice work on this one. I really like your use of fieldsets.

    One thing: what if the LABEL and INPUT tags were separated? Like so:

    <label for="textid">Name</label><input id="textid" type="text" />

    Why would you do this? I think that's what the FOR attribute is used..err....for (so to speak).
    If you wrap the INPUT tag inside the label, you don't need to refer to it with the FOR attribute I think. Correct me if I'm wrong. :)

    Anyway that's not a gripe, just a curiosity. These examples are fantastic. Thanks! :)

  3. 3/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 24 March 2004 @ 12:24

    Yeah, "for" is there for a reason. I just tried a nested label without the for attribute, and clicking on the label text didn't focus the element in IE 6.

    Firefox doesn't seem to mind it though.

  4. 4/72

    Keith commented on 24 March 2004 @ 13:41

    DUDE! You are THE MAN. I was just wishing for something excatly like this a day or so ago.

    I was thinking about hitting up Lazy Web or something, but I guess sending my positive vibe and heartfelt query out into the cyberether was enough!

    Nice work!

  5. 5/72

    Brad commented on 24 March 2004 @ 13:57

    Typical of IE. It's the problem child of the browser family these days: a role I'm sure Netscape was happy to surrender.

    Peter Paul-Koch has a CSS form layout tutorial as well:
    http://www.quirksmode.org/css/forms.html
    but his is neither as nicely coded as yours (he uses <br /> tags) nor as browser compatible.

    Nice one.

  6. 6/72

    huphtur commented on 24 March 2004 @ 16:32

    even more styling form fields:
    http://www.aplus.co.yu/sparks/dots/71/

  7. 7/72

    Chris Vincent commented on 24 March 2004 @ 20:05

    Bravo, bravo. This is something I (and many others) can definitely use. Thanks.

  8. 8/72

    Mark McLaughlin commented on 24 March 2004 @ 20:44

    Another interesting take on form design is the one detailed at:

    http://www.clagnut.com/blog/241/

    ...where the use of definition lists and their DT and DD tags as containers for labels and fields are discussed.

    It's something I've been using for a few projects now, and it tends to keep things semantically correct, whilst giving the developer a few more options over the style of the form itself.

  9. 9/72

    Unearthed Ruminator commented on 24 March 2004 @ 23:22

    Good timing on this one...I'm working on redesigning a huge form for a project I'm working on.

    As an FYI, http://www.37signals.com/ has a book called Defensive Design for the Web, and the sample chapter available for download is about forms.

  10. 10/72

    Matt commented on 25 March 2004 @ 03:55

    Very nicely done. Very timely for a project I'm working on as well. I was spending time cranking on this myself, but now I won't have to reinvent the wheel.

  11. 11/72

    Bobby van der Sluis commented on 25 March 2004 @ 04:07

    Great work! Form layout for complex forms is still a very unspoilt landscape and I think that most people are still using tables for its positioning.

    I always wondered if the W3C didn't forget to design some kind of form layout grid or so.

    A bit of topic, but I think that the future of forms will definately be some kind of WYSIWYG tool where you can design forms in and that spits out standards compliant code. Something like Microsoft's InfoPath, but then with CSS and XFORMS support.

    And for the article collection:
    http://www.simplebits.com/archives/2003/09/17/simplequiz_formatting_conclusion.html and http://www.dutchcelt.nl/blogged/204_0_1_5_C/

  12. 12/72

    Tim commented on 31 March 2004 @ 13:15

    Awesome! I'm very impressed and very thankful.

    I do have one question, why did you opt for ID= as opposed to Class= in the styling? Seems to me that Classes are reusable within a page where IDs must be unique. That ability to reuse might come in handy in a complicated form. Or I am missing something?

    I must say I never seen such beautiful artwork and great design put together in such copious amounts anywhere else ever. Your site raises the bar. Great work!

    Thank you,
    t.

  13. 13/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 31 March 2004 @ 13:29

    Thanks for the compliments Tim.

    Re: IDs for the form elements (I think you're asking?). IDs are required for any label's "for" attribute to work -- you have to be referencing an ID for a relationship to be created between the label and the target element.

    None of the CSS uses the IDs as a matter of styling (except for distinguishing between the different styles of form layout), it's all element & class related.

  14. 14/72

    dawn commented on 1 April 2004 @ 10:34

    hi, maybe i'm retarded but i'm trying to figure out your margined form but only one of your imported style sheets is actually there and it doesnt contain the classes youve used to position your form so i'm having a bit of a rough go of figuring out what you are actually doing. for instance <label class="first" for="title1"> i cant find what the first class is doing...

  15. 15/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 1 April 2004 @ 11:42

    Dawn, all the CSS rules for styling the forms are in:

    http://www.themaninblue.com/experiment/InForm/css/forms.css

    The rules for the Margin Form are all under #marginForm selectors.

    The "first" class is just there so that the first form element in each fieldset can have some margin-top applied to it. You could use a first-child selector instead of specifying a class, but they don't work in some browsers.

    The main trick with the Margin Form is that the labels are floated left, so the label text aligns left, but the input fields are positioned relatively, and moved right, so they line up in columns.

  16. 16/72

    dawn commented on 2 April 2004 @ 07:37

    thank you! (i was looking for the css at themaninblue.com/css/forms.css which would explain why i couldnt find it... heh.)

  17. 17/72

    Laurens Holst commented on 3 April 2004 @ 06:54

    Hum, I don't know if this has been mentioned already, but...

    The nice thing about nesting input's inside label's, is that you don't need to reference the ID of the input in the label anymore.

    Quote from the HTML docs on labels:
    "To associate a label with another control implicitly, the control element must be within the contents of the LABEL element. In this case, the LABEL may only contain one control element."

    Should save some code, and make things easier.

  18. 18/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 5 April 2004 @ 00:50

    See comments #2 & #3 above. They need to be there.

  19. 19/72

    sparkalyn commented on 11 April 2004 @ 08:57

    Thank you for the reference, it's wonderful.
    I did come across one puzzler. Most people will probably figure it out more quickly than I did.

    I was using your css for the margin form layout to align both input and text areas and noticed that the text area and the input boxes weren't quite aligning in firefox.

    Some head scratching and experimentation led me to the conclusion that firefox defaults textareas to a larger font-size, meaning you only get misalignment when you use ems.

    Simple fix was adding the same font declaration to all of the input widgets (or using another form of measurement).

  20. 20/72

    Trent commented on 13 April 2004 @ 05:03

    Cool article. Also, you can style the LEGEND tag. I often leave the FIELDSET with no background to avoid the coloring inconsitencies, and a border/background around the LEGEND can make up for the fieldset's blandness.

  21. 21/72

    commented on 16 April 2004 @ 10:15

  22. 22/72

    commented on 16 April 2004 @ 10:15

  23. 23/72

    CSS Newbe commented on 26 April 2004 @ 14:43

    I'm so embarrased to be asking this but I'm really new to CSS and even HTML.
    How do I get to see the style sheets you are using for these samples?

  24. 24/72

    CSS Newbe commented on 26 April 2004 @ 14:47

    I was using Firefox and tried IE. I noticed that the yellow background get lost in FF.
    Any way to make it work.

  25. 25/72

    CSS Newbe commented on 26 April 2004 @ 15:31

    Sorry about messing up your site with dumb questions.
    I found the styles:
    http://www.themaninblue.com/experiment/InForm/css/main.css
    Still wonder about the lack of color in FireFox.


  26. 26/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 26 April 2004 @ 17:03

    Ummmm ... there shouldn't be any colours anywhere. I purposely only changed the structure of the elements.

  27. 27/72

    Jessica commented on 27 April 2004 @ 10:00

    Firstly, to The Man in Blue, thanks for a great website - this has proved very helpful for my own form design.

    Secondly, to CSS Newbe regarding the yellow colouring. If you are referring to the colouring of text fields in IE and FF, IE (with the google toolbar installed) will automatically colour fields with names that it recognises e.g. Name, Address etc. Firefox doesn't do this, and so all input fields will appear with the standard colour. This had me tricked for a little while too!

  28. 28/72

    Joe commented on 13 May 2004 @ 08:03

    Greetings! Nice job with this one. Quite outstanding actually.

    In applying this on my own, I came across a rather odd behavior that concerns only horizontal and columnar forms.

    In Netscape 6 (yeah, I know, I know, quit laughing) you can't see the forms at all - only the fieldset outlines!

    Eek.

    Well, with some judicious CSS debugging, I discovered that commenting/removing "display: block" within #columnarForm label (and I presume #horizontalForm label) brings them back into view, albeit without the block display for the labels. Sigh.

    Any suggestions on how to get around this while keeping the CSS nice and tidy? (I was thinking some DOM-friendly ECMAScript but wanted to give others an oppy to weigh in first.)

  29. 29/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 13 May 2004 @ 12:14

    I wouldn't suggest any JavaScript, you could probably find a NS6-only hack somewhere in here:

    http://centricle.com/ref/css/filters/

    to declare rules only for it.

  30. 30/72

    Joe commented on 14 May 2004 @ 03:08

    Thanks for the pointer! Yes, that's a page I've gone to often - mighty handy. Alas, it does not appear to have anything that would let me target only Netscape Navigator 6. Or if it does, I'm missing it.

    Hmm ...

  31. 31/72

    Tucker commented on 24 May 2004 @ 11:54

    Great article! Itís been such a help.

    I have a query, which I hope you can help me with. I want to know if it is possible to mix and match different elements from all your templates!

    Iím creating a Columnar Form but some of the elements are horizontal. For example, is it possible to keep the overall form in the Columnar Form but have the Credit Card elements/radio buttons layed out as in the Horizontal Form?

    Also, is it possible to have the titles next to the input fields as you have in the Margin Form but still keep the overall form in the Columnar Format?

  32. 32/72

    Erik Porter commented on 24 May 2004 @ 23:50

    Joe,

    I've always run into the same problem that you describe In Netscape 6 when trying to style tableless forms. If I remember correctly any number of CSS rules when applied directly to a label tag will cause this, not just display: block. In the past I've had to resort to wrapping labels with an extra span and apply CSS to that to avoid the problem, but I'd be interested in any better solutions snybody has found.

  33. 33/72

    Francois Gagnon commented on 28 May 2004 @ 06:18

    For your information, I'm using Opera 7.50 and the top of this page break badly.

    The blue continents are over the text.

  34. 34/72

    Bryce Ikeda commented on 29 May 2004 @ 05:10

    Great examples, clear and concise. I take my hat off to the man in blue, just what I was looking for.

  35. 35/72

    Joe commented on 2 June 2004 @ 22:51

    Greetings! Revisiting the class names for these forms, I'm wondering if it's worth coming up with names other than vertical, columnar, horizontal, margin. Or would that be semantic overkill?

    Don't get me wrong - for screen media, perhaps even print, I say these names are spot-on!

    I'm thinking more for handheld media (where I'm guessing you'd want all of these variants to effectively be vertical), and perhaps other media as well (?).

    Insight welcome, as always.

  36. 36/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 3 June 2004 @ 01:13

    I think that's unnecessary.

    The only attribute that indicates visual description is the id on the forms, and I only used the id so that I could keep all the styles in one CSS file. With only one form you wouldn't need the id.

    The textual descriptions of the forms themselves need to have "Vertical", "Columnar" etc. in them, because that's what they're designed for, and what most people will see them as, so their title needs to inform them of this fact.

  37. 37/72

    Joe commented on 3 June 2004 @ 02:52

    Totally understood re: the textual descriptions - that makes sense. It's the class names I'm wondering about.

    But then again, what would I call them otherwise, right? In practice, I've found vertical forms work well in "sidebar" areas of a web page, while the rest work quite nicely in the "main" area.

    Depends on the form application, I s'pose. Actually, if I knew only one style was used/permitted in one area of the page, perhaps I could implicitly base it on that. Alas, that's not exactly true in my case. <LOL>

    I think what I'll do then is just leave it alone, then have horizontal and columnar effectively styled as "vertical" for handheld media. Possibly margin too. Will keep experimenting ...

  38. 38/72

    Bob commented on 4 June 2004 @ 00:48

    The best CSS form article on the web. Probably.

    For reference though, my suggestion for legends is to give the legend a border, background colour etc. and make the "Half-in-half-out" problem a feature.

    You can even get ultra-cunning (tm) with Javascript and use legends as tabs for a tabbed form interface.

    Oh yeah, and your site is gorgeosity itself and I'm jealous 'cos I'm just a coder and can't design. Note full stop.

  39. 39/72

    Joe D'Andrea commented on 7 July 2004 @ 23:05

    Here's an interesting one. When using the form <label><input /></label> ... on MacIE 5.2.3 you actually tab to each LABEL as well as input. At least that's what I think is happening.

    Worse, when you're "on the label" the related input field has the input focus but is NOT highlighted (per usual MacIE procedure) ... and to top it off, in this particular mode, any characters entered are echoed back TWICE! "Aieee!"

    Workaround: Press "tab" again to get the highlight, and the echo is no more.

    (Yes, I use Safari myself, but we've still checked our site in MacIE 5.2.3 - plus a few MacIE devotees still write every now and then with feedback. This was the latest.)

    Example: http://www.att.com/directory/

  40. 40/72

    Richard Grevers commented on 9 July 2004 @ 14:45

    I must leap to the defence of spec compliant browsers:
    In
    http://www.themaninblue.com/experiment/InForm/horizontal.htm and
    http://www.themaninblue.com/experiment/InForm/horizontal_hack.htm
    it is MSIE which is misbehaving.
    parents should not contain floats, so the behaviour you call "funky" si correct and IE is being buggy. The "hack" solution is in fact the standard way to achieve the desired effect.
    What is a buget is that gecko requires the clearing div to have content.

  41. 41/72

    Richard Grevers commented on 9 July 2004 @ 15:20

    Apologies for my browser's brain-fart. The page was still relaoding after 20 minutes, and I must have pressed reload.

  42. 42/72

    Paul Sullivan commented on 14 July 2004 @ 06:30

    I have been experimenting with similar layouts for a while and seem to have found a couple of quirks.

    1. If you do not nest the input within the label and set border-left on the fieldset then IE indents text-inputs by an amount equivelant to the margin.

    2. Gecko seems to have a problem with margin-bottom. If you try to seperate a form element from the bottom border of the fieldset using margin-bottom nothing happens. The same seems to be true of margin-top. Padding works fine.

    Any ideas/cures

    Paul

  43. 43/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 14 July 2004 @ 23:31

    Paul:

    1. This could be an IE margin bug, you might try some of the fixes at

    http://www.positioniseverything.net/

    2. This happens generally with Firefox et al. I think Eric Meyer may have explained collapsing margins and why they happen, but I'm not sure. I always just use padding in such situations.

  44. 44/72

    Paul Sullivan commented on 15 July 2004 @ 02:35

    Thanks for the reply. Just to correct my earlier post, I meant margin-left not border-left. I have come to the conclusion that this is a variation on the IE double margin bug. I emailed Big John and he asked me to put up a demo of the problem which I am doing. I will let you know what he says.

  45. 45/72

    mike foskett commented on 17 August 2004 @ 00:30

    Very nice description. I've had to do work on this recently and wish I'd seen it first.

    One comment though. From a usability point of view would it be bennificial to check one option on each of the radio buttons?
    The reasoning: As soon as a user selects one radio option he cannot return to none selected. This may cause confusion over what to do or what effect it may have upon submission. If one radio button is preselected then the user can always return it to the default state and more importantly feel comfortable about the response.

  46. 46/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 17 August 2004 @ 01:43

    Yes, I always feel uncomfortable when I accidentally select a radio button and can't turn it off.

    I always felt that radio buttons should be deselectable by clicking on the one that's selected. Much like checkboxes, but of course you can only select one at a time.

    In the absence of this widget ability, a "none" or equivalent option is probably the best thing.

  47. 47/72

    Emma commented on 24 August 2004 @ 00:59

    Thanks - its been very helpful during a steep learning curve about <fieldset> and <legend>. However, we've come across an IE bug with <legend>...

    When the legend text is longer than the available width, it doesn't wrap! We're using IE6 and even the supposed fix of white-space: normal in the CSS doesn't solve the problem.

    Have you come across this? Do you have any suggestions?

  48. 48/72

    Emma commented on 25 August 2004 @ 01:11

    I did find this thread today, but its only so helpful, in that it establishes that the problem is a bug in IE & Netscape browsers.

    http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2004AprJun/0334.html

    But there is no suggested work around, except to force line breaks with <br> tags.

  49. 49/72

    Jennifer Grucza commented on 2 September 2004 @ 04:21

    I'm having the same problem as Paul Sullivan:

    http://jennifergrucza.com/blog/archives/2004/08/31/weird-ie-bug-inputs-incorrectly-inherit-horizontal-margins-when-theyre-in-a-fieldset

    Has anyone heard from him? Or does anyone know of a work-around?

  50. 50/72

    Richard@Home commented on 8 September 2004 @ 22:32

    A great article! :-) Forms are the bread and butter of my commercial web development work.

    I thought you might be interested an article I recently wrote on styling checkboxes:

    http://richardathome.no-ip.com/index.php?article_id=334

  51. 51/72

    soup commented on 23 September 2004 @ 02:02

    Brilliant !

    Thanks a lot finally a decent explanation to whole Fieldset bit that I can understand !

  52. 52/72

    Razvan Pop commented on 26 September 2004 @ 20:43

    Love them. Bookmarked the page. I am showing them to all my friends who think forms should be made using tables.

    Thank you

  53. 53/72

    SEO Dilip commented on 28 September 2004 @ 15:44

    Forms aren't search engine freindly either until recently Google started indexing JS and Form content. Shall bookmark your resource for future reference. Nice resource!!!!

  54. 54/72

    calin commented on 28 September 2004 @ 22:55

    I only came across this resource now; and I regret I didn't notice it before.
    It's a lovelly approach; I really like your use of fieldsets. I'm learning styling form fields and your examples cleared much of the mess
    Except for the ugly google's autofill automatic yellow coloring, even K-Meleon has no problems in displaying the forms the nice way

  55. 55/72

    vic commented on 11 October 2004 @ 11:36

    the column one breaks/wraps on 800x600 res :(

  56. 56/72

    paolo commented on 19 October 2004 @ 07:26

    First off, thank you for posting this info. I have found it helpful.

    Now my questions:

    Did you test your code with a screen reader and if so which one? I have tried Qualiweb Pro, Simply Web, and JAWS and each of these screen-reading browser had its own problems recognizing HTML form elements, given this code example for a simple search form:

    <label for="searchText" >

    <input id="searchText" type="text" name="keywords" size="25" >

    </label>

    <label for="searchButton">

    <input id="searchButton" type="image" src="/images/search.gif" width="50" height="15" alt="SEARCH" border="0" value="Search" align="absmiddle">

    </label>

    QualiWEB Pro can't find the input text element with the code as written above. The label and input tags must be separated and text written between <label> and </label>. I'm trying to avoid writing label text because the search button image already has the word "search" as a label within itself.

    JAWS took over my machine and slowed everything down. Completely unusable.

    SimplyWeb 2000 pretty much finds everything if I code by your guidelines.

    Thanks for any help.

  57. 57/72

    Kari commented on 23 October 2004 @ 06:06

    This is a great resource. thank you.

    I am trying to get a grasp on xforms since my development team is starting to do alot of xml and I will need to be styling these interfaces with css. Is there any good css tips available for styling xforms?

  58. 58/72

    John commented on 15 November 2004 @ 12:43

    Apologies for my browser's brain-fart. The page was still relaoding after 20 minutes, and I must have pressed reload.

  59. 59/72

    ajay commented on 16 November 2004 @ 03:18

    Nice article, one question can you add a mandatory asterisk that is displayed along the same row but after the input box in the marginform styling?

    Thanks
    ---

  60. 60/72

    Antony commented on 17 November 2004 @ 14:42

    I think I am in form-stylesheet heaven :)
    Thanks a lot for the wicked tips and links!

  61. 61/72

    YoungHistorians commented on 30 November 2004 @ 11:45

    I appreciate the article-will be seen on my blog soon :)

  62. 62/72

    Wile E. Coyote commented on 7 December 2004 @ 06:12

    What about floating textareas? I'm having a hell of a time floating textareas in IE....:-(

  63. 63/72

    Charlie commented on 20 December 2004 @ 01:31

    Hi, I am a newbie so please bear with me, I have looked through the CSS and I cannot ascertain what it is that is styling the border around the legend/fieldsets? also, what would be the correct way to code the Legends without them actually being visible in the browser?

    Thanks

  64. 64/72

    ben commented on 7 January 2005 @ 07:31

    cool site

  65. 65/72

    Busy commented on 18 January 2005 @ 15:55

    You rock! This was exactly what I was looking for, right on time. And as a bonus I bookmarked your site and subscribed to your RSS!

  66. 66/72

    Norman commented on 13 February 2005 @ 09:42

    Ok, the fieldset thing is cool when marking up a SMALL form with a few elements but for LARGE forms, in order to make the form useable and organized, itís hard to beat the simplicity of a TABLE. CSS techniques seem to be somewhat complicated in a place where a simple TABLE would work all around.

  67. 67/72

    Timothy commented on 19 February 2005 @ 06:07

    <span>(As I believed referenced in comments 24-26 and 63) When I view the forms using IE on my browser at home, I get more 'styling' than is explicitly declared. I get nice thin bluish borders around my input fields and the same bluish color for my legend text. Yet, my browser at work and some other locations show the standard black inset input fields and black legend. What is causing my browser at home to make it look more styled?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p><o:p><span>

    <span>BTW great site!<o:p><o:p><span>

     

  68. 68/72

    Thomas commented on 8 March 2005 @ 00:49

    Nice article, I use the fieldset method with all my forms, it makes styling the form so much easier. 

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    Eric Meyer commented on 11 March 2005 @ 07:56

    Thanks for the mention, but that "throwback" article was written by Mark Newhouse, not me, as indicated by the copyright notice at the bottom of the page.

  70. 70/72

    The Man in Blue commented on 11 March 2005 @ 10:56

    Ah, but Eric, it was based on an "original code concept" from you. So really, you da man. :o]

  71. 71/72

    Scott Chapman commented on 11 March 2005 @ 16:29

    This is a very nice demonstration of form layout.  Thanks for it!

    I'd suggest putting the style info right in the top of the html so it's easier for people to download it all.  When I use File->Save As in IE6/FF1.0.1, I don't get the CSS.

  72. 72/72

    Benjer commented on 22 March 2005 @ 22:26

    Great article,

    From an accessibility point of view, you should separate input from label.

    <label>text</label><input>

     Annoyingly when you do this opera will not work correctly so you have to use an extra BR tag to clear elements.

    <label>text</label><input><br>

    Netscape 6 & 7 will not display the label tag correctly either. As usual we are stuck and there is no foulproof solution, but netscape 7.2 now works correctly.

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