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Re: Accessibly Changing Page Content on the Fly

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cpd2.usu.edu>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 16:51:39 -0700
Message-ID: <005501bf8a22$6998b580$20117b81@usu.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sorry about the absence of original content in the last post (I hit the send
button accidentally). Here is the content:

The sliding menus--or other DHTML type scripts--are neither inherently
accessible nor inaccessible. With proper programming techniques, such menus
can be made to either show up or not show up in a browser, depending on the
browser's characteristics. Also, the manner in which the script is handled
when it is printed can be programmed.

We should be careful not to make blanket statements about DHTML. Yes,
programming DHTML for accessibility can be a bit of a challenge, but it can
be done in most cases. Also, you can build in some redundancy into the page
itself. The DHTML elements may not be accessible, but you can include links
(at the bottom of the page, for example) that provide the same
functionality. Many web designers already use this practice. They often put
a graphical menu at the top and a text-only menu at the bottom. The links
are redundant, but putting them in both places improves usability. The user
no longer has to scroll back up to the top.


----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald G. Weichbrodt <gerald.g.weichbrodt@ived.gm.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2000 1:28 PM
Subject: Accessibly Changing Page Content on the Fly


Hi all.  This topic is probably a child of my sliding menus query of a
couple of days ago, but here goes.  It seems like popup menus and
appearing/disappearing text on web pages in general are problematic for use
with screen readers.  The menus tend to appear without the screen reader
"noticing" them, and then when you go to chase the menus down, they may or
may not still be there.  So, I guess the question is whether there's really
an effective way to implement such things and have them work with a screen
reader.  Do we look to the Document Object Model as the "right" way to add
text to a page on a dynamic basis? Do browsers support it? My cohorts who do
web page building around here are discovering that the sliding menu stuff is
problematic in printing out their pages on a printer.  Suddenly what they
hid on the screen is getting printed to the printer and making a mess.  This
has given them a reason to implement second versions of their pages again
using combo boxes in place of the sliding menus just so the pages can be
printed satisfactorily.  Ideally there'd be one page that would fit all.  Is
that a reasonable expectation? Are things getting better? and is it just a
matter of the available browsers/screen readers catching up with the W3C
specs? I'd be interested to hear some thoughts on this.

Thanks.

Jerry Weichbrodt
Received on Thursday, 9 March 2000 18:52:01 GMT

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