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JAWS discards SPAN content?

From: David Holstius <holstius@pilot.msu.edu>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 18:52:35 -0500
To: "'W3c-Wai-Ig@W3.Org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "Michael Hudson" <mjh@msu.edu>
Message-ID: <BJEMLNACJIHFHFJPLFCJEEBJCAAA.holstius@pilot.msu.edu>
I've been messaging the kind folks over at Henter-Joyce since a problem with
"missing content" on a web page appeared a week ago. Appearently, JAWS VPC
discards content between SPAN tags; the problem's been reported with IE 5.5
plus Jaws 3.7, if I recall correctly, but not with IE 5.0. An example is
available at <http://holstius.com/span_tags.html>. Code in question looks
something like:

  <span class="X"><label for="MyField">Some text:</label></span><input
name="Myfield" ...

where I was using a rule:

  .X { width: 12em; text-align: right; }

to make the form's input fields align nicely with their labels without
resorting to a TABLE. (Just wanted to see if it worked.) Could have just set
the class on the LABEL tag, yes, but still this is syntactically valid. I
got a reply from an HJ representative:

> Currently Jaws VPC does not support these tags and therefore
> Jaws is prevented from seeing the associated web form field
> labels.  The temporary solution is to remove the surrounding
> span tags from the field labels. So this web page is using a
> web tag in which Jaws did not anticipate when attempting to
> grab the label for the fields.  You are correct in that the
> web page adheres to W3 standards but Jaws simply never has
> known about this tag.  I have put this into the database as
> record 5642 as a suggestion for support.

Workable, yes, but does anyone want to see content they've put between SPANs
(in many cases, put there to avoid deprecated or improper markup) rendered
inaudible for users of JAWS and IE 5.5??? I urged this representative to put
this high on his priority list of fixable bugs. If you visit the above page
(<http://holstius.com/span_tags.html>) and don't hear anything like
"Author", "Title", "Publisher", etc. before the form fields, there's a
problem. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to check this out.

JAWS users, you may especially wish to ask HJ about this.

David Holstius
Webmaster, RCPD @ MSU
Received on Friday, 1 December 2000 18:51:36 UTC

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