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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tab this!

Pardon me while I vent.

I keep seeing the application filing tips that were originally in an October News Brief, and there's one that sticks in my craw:

"Use the Tab key to move sequentially through your forms."

It bugs me because throughout the USAC Web site, the tab order is messed up. Next time you're certifying a 470 online, try tabbing after typing in the PIN. You jump to someplace up in the address bar, and it's like 10 tabs before you get back down to the next check box on the form.

Or try the certification page on the Form 471. Hit the Tab key after checking Item 37, and you don't go to the next item (which is Item 40, but that's a different rant), you go to the Print Preview button.

Hitting the Tab key is like spinning a roulette wheel.

Someone should be forced to use the USAC Web site without a mouse and write down all the unexpected results. They would quickly run into a related pet peeve. On a normal Web form, after you type in some information and hit the Enter key, it's like clicking the Submit button. Not so on a USAC form. Some random button is pushed. Try displaying a 471: you type in the 471 number and hit the Enter key, it sends you back to the application menu page.

And don't get me started on why my browser's Back button doesn't work in some of the applications.

On the plus side, it's my impression that the Tab and Enter keys work more or less as expected on the new forms. So maybe the problems are already being fixed. Slowly.

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