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It struck me today, while working on a project, that sIFR (a way of dynamically replacing normal text titles with a Flash alternative for those users who have Flash available), while very useful for titles, could be put to good use to allow people to style forms as well.

I must confess, I've not used sIFR myself, so am not sure how easy this might be, technically. However, the premise is simple enough. With sIFR, you replace an normal HTML element with something visually improved, without losing out in terms of accessibility or semantics. Forms are still, despite the problem existing for some time, almost unstylable due to inconsistencies in browsers.

sIFR in forms should, in theory, allow people to create icons in flash for different element states. For example (this is what got me thinking about this) a checkbox has two main states - checked and unchecked. They look awful. It would be great if there was a way to replace the checked state with a decent tick icon and the unchecked state with a cross icon.

As I said, I don't know how tough this is to do. Managing disabled elements would be tricky. Text boxes could well present a problem. Radio boxes might require a couple of boxes to be changed at once. Selects don't look fun. But it should be possible. Does anyone know if this has already been attempted? Is anyone willing to give it a go? If it worked, it would make a massive difference to web designers everywhere, helping them to work around the inconsistencies in form styling and finally get some control.


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