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RE: optgroup

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 00:24:17 -0500
To: "'WAI-GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <auto-000039812017@spamarrest.com>

Good work Joe, Paul, for working this through.

I don't think we want to deprecate any technique because of a bug in a
version of AT.  I think we made that a principle of sort.  

As to ALT-Downarrow.  I think it would be a good idea to document this well
in the techniques doc.  ALSO, it might be a good idea to think about a
"keyboard access' quicksheet that points out this and other ideas and
shortcuts.  It's amazing how many 'well known' techniques are not well
known.   We could note in techniques that something is not well known but we
need to be very careful about this type of thing.  I think it is better to
make key techniques known than to ask authors to not use things that could
be accessible......


 -- ------------------------------ 
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D. 
Professor - Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
Director - Trace R & D Center 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Paul Bohman
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2004 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: optgroup

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 Friday, 30 July 2004 01:24:38 UTC

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