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What is Recommended Practice for "Option Lists"?

From: Patrick Burke <burke@ucla.edu>
Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 09:18:35 -0800
Message-Id: <4.0.1.19990304085550.00e4cdb0@pop.ben2.ucla.edu>
Message-Id: <4.0.1.19990304085550.00e4cdb0@pop.ben2.ucla.edu>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hello everyone,

The problem I will describe can be found at www.census.gov . There is a
note on
the site describing recent upcoming changes, so it sounds like it might be a
good time for accessibility suggestions.

Is there an agreed fix or method for coding what I will call Option Lists?
Apparently they are meant to pop up (or pull down?) a list of selectable links
when an item is clicked. When I encounter these (mostly using MSIE4.01 + Jaws
For Windows), the result is almost always the same: I get the first item in
the
list, but arrowing down or mouse-clicking or hitting Enter all simply open the
first link, and I can never get to the rest of the list. (Netscape yields
similar results, and it doesn't seem to matter if Java is enabled or not. Lynx
displays the choices in the list but fails to bring up the URLs.)

In looking at the code, this list of items appears to be a <select> ...
<option
...> construction using Javascript. Either this type of code does not
produce a
drop-down list as I expected, or there is some kind of problem in the
rendering
of the code by MSIE and/or its interpretation by JFW. 

There was a similar feature on the Adobe main page, but it is now gone. There
is another similar construct (though it seems to be strictly Javascript
now) on
the Microsoft home page. There was another example on the MS Search page,
which
they have now changed to a much more accessible series of radio buttons.  So
full marks to MS for this change. Would this also be the best solution for the
Census site?

Here is the code from www.census.gov (minus links 2-55, which all have the
same
structure). I don't know how it might be affected by scripts run elsewhere on
the page. Removing line 2 from this code yields a navigable list box of
entries, but then I can't access the CGI script (using the "Choose Profile"
button).

Patrick

----------

                <form ACTION="/cgi-bin/geo/location" METHOD="POST">
                <SELECT NAME="Location"
onChange="window.open(this.options[this.selectedIndex].value,'_top')">
                <option value="http://www.census.gov/datamap/www/">Select a
State</option>
                <option
value="http://www.census.gov/datamap/www/01.html">Alabama</option>
[...]
                <option
value="http://www.census.gov/datamap/www/56.html">Wyoming</option></select>
                <INPUT TYPE="submit" NAME="submit" BORDER=0 VALUE="Get State
Profile!"></form>
Received on Friday, 5 March 1999 12:19:20 GMT

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