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Re: optgroup

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cc.usu.edu>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 18:32:20 -0400
Message-ID: <41097AF4.6080104@cc.usu.edu>
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Joe Clark wrote:

> Alt-downarrow should reveal the entire list [of a drop down menu,
> including optgroup labels].

Yes, that's true. I was momentarily forgetting about this technique.

So the conclusion for keyboard users is that optgroup is usable and
workable, as long as the users are aware of the alt + down arrow
keyboard shortcut on Windows.

As far as screen readers are concerned, they don't read optgroup labels, 
and in the case of Window Eyes, there is a serious bug that misreads the 
options in a drop down list when the optgroup label is used.

So in the techniques document, it may be wise to note that optgroup is 
still implemented poorly by screen readers, and if keyboard users on 
Windows want to take advantage of it, they have to use alt + down arrow, 
which is a little-known keyboard shortcut.

Here are my quick test results (and again, if anyone knows of any 
specific keyboard shortcut or other technique that I may be forgetting, 
let me know):


JAWS ignores the optgroup labels, whether you use alt + arrow, or just 
the arrow keys.

Window Eyes:

The list is *LESS* accessible when optgroup is used, because of a bug in 
the way Window Eyes handles it. Window Eyes never reads any optgroup 
labels. Instead, when an optgroup label is present, it repeats the 
previous option erroneously.

For example, in the following drop down list, you will hear the word 
"Dresden" spoken when you should hear "New York City" and you will hear 
"Montreal" when you should hear "Buenos Aires". If you go in the reverse 
direction (using the up arrow), then the bug acts in the reverse 
direction, so you will hear "New York" when you should hear "Dresden", etc.

<label for="favcity2">Which is your favorite city?</label>
<select id="favcity2" name="favcity2">
<optgroup label="Europe">
<option value="1">Amsterdam</option>
<option value="3">Interlaken</option>
<option value="4">Moscow</option>
<option value="5">Dresden</option>
<optgroup label="North America">
<option value="2">New York</option>
<option value="6">Salt Lake City</option>
<option value="7">Montreal</option>
<optgroup label="South America">
<option value="8">Buenos Aires</option>
<option value="9">Asuncion</option>
<optgroup label="Asia">
<option value="10">Hong Kong</option>
<option value="11">Tokyo</option>
<option value="12">New Dehli</option>

Paul Bohman
Director of Products and Services
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Utah State University
Received on Thursday, 29 July 2004 18:32:37 UTC

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