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RE: Looking for bad JavaScript examples!

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 10:07:23 -0500
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD030038D@WDCROBEXC01>
To: "'jeff@cpd2.usu.edu'" <jeff@cpd2.usu.edu>
Cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Thanks Jeff!

This site is particularly problematic.  This is a fair example of the other
kind of JavaScript problem I was looking.  Here, an OnMouseOver invokes a
document.write from an external file.  (In this case,
<http://www.hass.usu.edu/hierArrays.js> or
<http://www.hass.usu.edu/hierMenus.js>.)  Despite being text, it is
completely unavailable to the screen reader (and doesn't scale in the
browser).  It seems to me that JavaScript references to external files are
particularly inaccessible.

I say that this is only a "fair" counter example, because there are so many
other problems with the page!  It is my understanding that static
document.write blocks (not sure why anyone would do this) are also totally
inaccessible to screen readers.  Can anyone confirm this for me?

Other problems with the page include scrolling text on the left side bar.
Can JFW read that text?  The scrolling text is even more problematic since
the two short paragraphs are themselves discrete links not available
elsewhere on the page!  Also, "Information for Students" and "General
College Information" seem to be real hypertext (one can even tab to them),
but they link only to false anchors within the page (<a href="#"...) so they
don't do anything!

In additional to all the above problems, Lynx has an even harder time since
the actual homepage <http://www.hass.usu.edu/index.htm> doesn't redirect one
to the "main" page <http://www.hass.usu.edu/main.htm> and instead comes up
as a black screen (without any errors or warning) so one has to view the
source to confirm that there isn't some other problem.  Apparently, the
author intended that users without scripting be instructed that they "Need a
different browser" <http://www.hass.usu.edu/sorry.htm>, but since they use
JavaScript to generate this information via redirection, people using older
browsers won't even get this lame message!

We have covered the problem repeatedly about OnMouseOver revealing/hiding
significant content, be it text (both real and contained in graphics) or
important images.  To my mind, no really great (i.e., accessible _and_
compatible with Netscape 4x) work-arounds have suggested (except, of course,
the fall-back to an alternative page).  Is it fair to summarize the WAI
experience and advice to be something like "onMouseOver may only be used for
cosmetic, content-free effects"?
Thanks very much.
-- Bruce

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of jeff@cpd2.usu.edu
> Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000 7:25 PM
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Looking for bad JavaScript examples!
> Try http://www.hass.usu.edu/main.htm  the top two links 
> around the circle use a mouseover that show additional links. 
>  There is no way to get to 
> those links using JAWS.
> Jeff Isom
Received on Friday, 17 November 2000 10:07:50 UTC

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