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Exclude checkboxes from keyboard access

The records search user interface includes a checkbox after many text input fields to specify whether the search is to be precise or loose. Placing these checkboxes immediately after the text input field clarifies their purpose but creates extra effort and unnecessary errors when entering a search by demanding that the user press the tab key TWICE after each input field. Most users are unaware of the method for altering the state of a checkbox which has the focus and if they are not paying attention will type an entire field value into the checkbox, where it is ignored. In almost every case a user is going to perform an initial loose search and only start selecting other search options, including clicking on these checkboxes, if the results are too broad. Since the checkboxes are more intuitively set using the mouse, or on a mobile device a touch, there is no need for them to also be accessible to the keyboard. Therefore all of these checkboxes should specify the attribute tabindex="-1" so the browser will skip them when the user hits a tab key.
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  • 1
    Supremely Awful Idea.

    People who regularly use a mouse or pointer in conjunction with the keyboard will just click in the next field to fill it in. The use of the tab key will only ever occur to people who need to or prefer to stick with keyboard only, and they absolutely need to be able to access the checkboxes with said tab key; otherwise, the interface will be completely broken for them.

    Typing an entire search field into a checkbox will only happen once per keyboard-only person, maybe twice if the person doesn't use FS much.
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  • 2
    Not only supremely awful, but supremely illegal as well. Doing so would violate the ADA and open Familysearch up to prosecution under that legislation.

    If a user is not paying attention when using the search then that's their fault and they should not be mollycoddled because of it.
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  • The "awful" comments are unprofessional and ignorant since you did not address my issues with the feature, you just insulted me! I would request that you both apologize for your rude behavior on this forum. The only valid comment is the need to conform to ADA. Ancestry avoids the problem by placing the two checkboxes after both the given and surname fields. The only real disadvantage I can see to that form of input is that it takes up more screen space.

    I am just sick and tired of wasting time. I am a touch typist so I am not looking at EITHER the keyboard OR the display while I am entering data. I am looking at the original source document. This is aggravated because Ancestry works one way and FamilySearch works a different way. It is faster to hit tab twice than take my hands off the keyboard to grab the mouse and then move my hands back to the keyboard. But why should I be forced to hit tab twice by FamilySearch when I am not forced to do that by Ancestry? Furthermore that can result in my hands not finding the "home" row, particularly since computer keyboards lack a feature of traditional typewriter keyboards which had deeper depressions on the F and J keys so touch typists could find the home position without looking at the keyboard.

    Trivia question: What is the longest word in the English language that can be typed using only the keys on the top row? The answer is TYPEWRITER.
    • James, I'm truly sorry if you see personal insult in my post, but you have only yourself to blame. (There's a Hungarian proverb: "if it's not your shirt, don't put it on". It's kind of the inverse of "if the shoe/hat fits, wear it.")

      As a touch typist, you of all people should know that no matter what your reasoning, excluding checkboxes (ANY checkboxes, anywhere) from tab input is a Supremely Awful Idea.

      (My computer keyboards have always had "blips" on the F and J. The fact that I wear them off is a different question entirely, but superglue works for "replenishment".)
    • James Cobban, don't take things so personal on this community forum for ideas. I have had some ideas that others have thought were down right awful, but I took no offense. Some will like your idea, and some will not like your idea, but that does not reflect on you personally.

      Please take no offense, and continue to submit you view points and ideas to this community forum for ideas.
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  • 2
    James, you really need to rethink what you are requesting.

    It appears that the first thing you want to do is to save tabbing twice with the “exact” option.

    How do you think that those of us using a computer system, who want an exact option, would feel if you removed the option?
    • By the way, I use my computer and its keyboard and want to be able to check the exact box after entering the information without having to use my mouse.

      It is really a matter of user preference. While your idea has merit, FamilySearch is moving to the latest technology with the site. As such the old -1 may or may not apply.
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  • It sounds like what you *really* actually want is for Ancestry and FamilySearch to be arranged exactly the same way, so that you can "seamlessly" transfer your habits from one site to the other. That's highly unlikely to happen, as the sites belong to unrelated organizations.

    Tabbing twice is really not hard. Your finger is already on the key, after all. (If I need to microwave something for a minute and a half, I often use 88 seconds. That way, I only need to find one spot on the dratted smooth surface.)
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  • Please review your posts above. 
    There is an expectation that you as a contributor are here to help and build this community. We welcome Ideas, whether good, bad, or other to be shared here. "awful" is not appropriate in a response, nor helpful. Please limit your response to what is good, or not as good, or questions to help make an idea better. 
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  • 3
    Here we go again. Interference in the community and censorship for no proper reason.

    "Please limit your response to what is good, or not as good, or questions to help make an idea better."

    Your response is not good. Your response is not helpful. Your response is not a question to help make an idea better. Your response is helping to destroy this community.

    Please review your interference in this community. It's not welcome and it is not building this community.

    Oh and yes this is on topic. You made it on topic.
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  • I would like to suggest an alternative solution to my concern. The issue is that as a touch typist I am looking at a source document as I type, not the FamilySearch input form and because I use a lot of different sites, not just FamilySearch, I end up wasting time typing keystrokes which are ignored because the focus is on a checkbox, not an input field.

    The only useful keystroke while the focus is on a checkbox is space, which causes the checkbox to be selected. All other keystrokes are ignored. A technological solution to the issue of typing into the checkbox is to intercept the keystroke and if it is not a space change to focus to the next input field and insert the keystroke there.
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    • Okay, restating: James, I believe you are mistaken about the definition of touch typing. (Does that help? I cannot imagine *what* in my posts could possibly be construed as rude and disrespectful, unless you consider any statement of opinion contrary to your own to be rude.)

      I touch type in two languages, by the way.

      If you really *are* a touch typist, then you, of all people, should have realized that your idea of breaking an electronic form's keyboard access to the checkboxes was, um, ill-advised. Your later suggestion of rearranging the fields such that the boxes do not interrupt your thought process may have some merit, but it should perhaps go in a new suggestion to be properly noticed and considered.
    • It is rude to contradict a statement of personal knowledge coming from another person. You cannot have any knowledge of how I type. Your interpretation of the term touch typing as it applies to you is irrelevant. Your definition only applies in the situation where someone is touch typing an original document, for example when creating an e-mail, where the visual focus is on the document being created. Even there it is understandable but somewhat misguided. An experienced touch typist does not make spelling mistakes while typing and therefore does not need to pay attention to the output. The correct set of movements to type most words is in "muscle memory". Only unusual words involve the conscious decision to strike individual keys. Bear in mind that I became a touch typist before computers where it was crucially important to not make mistakes because making a mistake meant throwing away the entire page, at least prior to the invention of Liquid Paper by Bette Nesmith Graham, a product which became available years after I started touch typing. Remember that typewriters had a bell that sounded when you were within 10 characters of the end of the line so that a touch typist could decide to perform a carriage return WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PAGE. Furthermore family history work is mostly data entry. In data entry the focus of the operator is on the original document, not on the transcription. The focus cannot be on both at the same time because the human optical system is not designed to focus in two directions at the same time. Data entry from images requires even more close focus on the original since handwriting is much harder to interpret than typescript. Among other things this is demonstrated by the fact that no computer application has yet succeeded in reading existing handwriting, although there are reasonably successful applications that can "read" the actual motions of a pen while writing because the acceleration of the tip of the pen can signal the writer's intention. You can write on a touch sensitive pad with a stylus and get a useful, though still far from correct, transcription. That acceleration information is unavailable in the final script which as everyone involved in family history knows is highly ambiguous.

      I touch type in EIGHT languages including Russian and Greek which aren't even in the same alphabet, as well as Western European languages with accents. I have translated my personal web site into 4 languages. I have even typed, although not touch typed, Hebrew. So what. I do NOT look at the form while typing. It is irrelevant if YOU look at the form while typing. That is a fact which you do not have the knowledge to contradict because you have never observed me actually typing. Indeed because typing uses a different part of the brain from the portion used for speech I have been known to freak people out by continuing to touch type documents while facing AWAY from my computer while carrying on detailed conversations on complex technical issues completely unrelated to what I am typing. It is the fact that I am NOT looking at the data entry form while typing which creates this problem, because I am unaware that my typing is being wasted going into a field which ignores all input except space and tab, and your constant refusal to accept that I am making a simple statement of fact could be construed as an accusation of falsehood. You do not have any evidence of falsehood on my part so to accuse me of falsehood when you have no evidence that I am lying is an insult. Your behavior particularly in repetitively rejecting my statements causes me emotional distress. I have done nothing to deserve that distress. I demand an apology from you for your persistence in continuing to insult me even after I have told you that I find your behavior disrespectful, insulting, and emotionally distressing.

      You have not made ANY positive contribution to resolving this issue. You repeatedly use deprecating language in statements which blindly reject my concern based upon your prejudices. I therefore request that FamilySearch bar you from participation in this forum.

      I am extremely upset and I also request an apology from FamilySearch for permitting this sort of destructive behavior in what are intended to be civil discussions with the objective of improving the service.
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  • 1
    James,

    What you are now suggesting is to create an inconsistency with the way forms work pretty well EVERYWHERE, and give it an odd behavior to now support a hidden "feature" on some fields that most people will not be able to decode.

    The universal behavior on all text entry, regardless of where it is, is typically:
    1) Select the item where you want to put your entry (either by tab or cursor)
    2) Type in your entry. Anything inappropriate for that field or functions is simply thrown away.

    You are now saying is that you want to select a place to put your entry in, and then totally dependent on hidden code, entering text only in certain places can result in the selected field being automatically changed outside of the person's control and the entered text going into a DIFFERENT field instead of the one that the person originally selected.

    That would be a very unintuitive behavior to most of the folks on the FS FamilyTree IMHO.
    • You are slightly wrong in your assertion. It is not "universal" behavior, it is "default" behavior. Almost all input fields on forms have special dynamic handling routines. There are so many models for this that HTML5 has codified a large number of them by among other design changes adding new types. For example since the beginning you have been able to define an input field as a "password". More recently the ability to define an input field as a credit card number or a date or a social insurance number has been added. However prior to that almost all production sites used Javascript to, for example, prevent entering non-numeric keystrokes into a field which can only contain a number or to automatically tab to the next field once a given field is full. Many pages have special handling for the tab key in input fields so that it goes not to the visually next input field on the form but to the logical next field. Again this is also supported by the taborder attribute in HTML.

      The "default" behavior of the checkbox is to ignore all keystrokes except space and tab. That does not mean it is also the "universal" behavior.

      By the way I am also on the mailing list for the W3C HTML standards committee so I review all discussions of the behavior of HTML.
    • Obviously it could be set up in the HTML to do what you suggest. I also certainly agree that the positions of those boxes might be better served if they were in a different position. But my main concern personally is for consistency of operation (i.e., the "look and feel") of the interface across the product, and the significant lack of easily visible documentation of the systems behavior. Consistency adds simplicity.

      With a very large percentage of the people that the first presidency wants using this site not being of a computer savvy and touch typing skill set, simplicity for the masses probably overrides the need for speed of a select few.

      I probably touch type at probably an 80% level (i.e., I cheat a lot by looking at my keyboard) and I have found that positioning of checkboxes never really affects me, mainly because the order of fields on the entry forms almost NEVER match the order of the input date fields that I'm copying it from.
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  • Relax, everyone.

    Interestingly, except those last two words, my comments disappeared. It must mean something:

    https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...
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  • Thanks for the comments as there are some good perspectives here. But we want to be inviting and still be able to respect each other's posts. We are going to snooze this thread for a bit. 
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