W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org > August 1999

making javascript accessible

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 1999 15:12:26 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>, w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
Following an alert by Gregory, who found a bunch of javascript popups at

I took a look and found...

It turns out at least in netscape that if you click on a popup-enhanced
item you get a page with a main menu that matches the popup of the page
from which it sprung.

In lynx, I get a  message  to use the text links at the bottom.  If I spot
check for bus schedules, then indeed I get a page with links that match the
aforementioned popups.

So assuming that they were careful and did this throughout, the info is all
there.  Of course I didn't check everything by hand so I can't guarantee.

So they actually did a bunch of work to get the info there.

We could think of better alternatives, e.g. invisible images or noscripts
that say something like "popup for bus schedule" so you get the info right
there, more conveniently than actually going to a whole new page.  But one
could argue that they overall made a functional equivalent.  At least
enough to e.g. satisfy bobby's question if they did something equivalent.
They they probably deserve their bobby.

But what this all points out is that it's important to get javascipt
accessible. The popups actually have value so we can't ask them to forgo
them, and it took a lot of work to duplicate their functions.

A while back we did some talking about tools that made javascript
See thread rooted at 


Silas Brown wound up putting some of this into his tool. 

The princple was that you could often get useful information by just
listing text and links  in a heuristically sorted order.  You'd omit
anything that looks like a color, e.g #012345 .  Not as good as true
javascript interpretation but better than nothing.

And you can do better when templates for very popular applets hit the pages.

If nothing else, a webmaster might want to do that for his or her site to
avoid duplicating all the functionality by hand.  This is getting more
important now that there are applets like popups that truly add value, and
don't just annoy.

So lets give it a think, why don't we.


Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Universal Design Engineer, Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering
Temple University

Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-2247 (voice)
(800) 750-7428 (TTY)
Received on Thursday, 5 August 1999 15:12:32 UTC

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