Common usability problems and solutions
This article is the first in a two-part series about Web widgets -- controls that can be incorporated in Web forms, dialogs, and wizards to elicit information from users. Here in Part 1, Jodi Bollaert defines several basic HTML Web widgets, shows graphic examples, and discusses common usability problems and solutions. Next month, Jodi will cover more sophisticated Web widgets that can be developed with scripts.
What is a Web widget?
A Web widget is a nifty name for a variety of controls that can be used in Web forms, dialogs, and wizards to elicit information from users. While the list of potential Web widgets grows with each new version of HTML and complimentary scripting language, this article focuses on six Web widgets that can be developed with simple HTML 4.01 -- the latest version of HTML approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (see Resources). They include text boxes, radio buttons, check boxes, dropdown menus, list boxes, and more. The beauty of using pure HTML widgets is that they are cross-browser and cross-platform compatible, although they may render somewhat differently.