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RE: Fw: putting reader text in hidden <div> tags / adding pauses

From: Jim Thatcher <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 17:07:23 -0600
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <NDBBKJDAKKEJDCICIODLOEEIDLAA.jim@jimthatcher.com>
I grant that alt text on a "spacer image" is a hack, as is making links
hidden by using same foreground and background colors. This may be offensive
to purists but these hacks work.

Using visibility:hidden or display:none to visibly hide text and expect it
to be spoken by screen readers seems to be even worse than a hack. It is
using an attribute for its opposite purpose.

When HPR (in the previous version, 3.0) incorrectly (in my opinion) spoke
content with these hidden attributes it was terribly confusing. For example,
ALL of the pull down menus on sites like www.nsf.gov or www.microsoft.com
are spoken, usually without the correct attributes of activity - i.e., they
are not only supposed to be hidden, when visible they become active - when
hidden they aren't. Other plus-to-expand type content was all in the HPR 3.0
text view; the "Plus" to expand and "minus" to collapse were meaningless.

The first job of a screen reader or talking browser is to present, in as
clear a way as possible, the content that is visually displayed on the page.
When content is non-textual then the assistive technology needs some help,
like alternative text for images, headers for the information conveyed by
positions in data tables, or labels (or titles) to convey information
otherwise given by positioning in forms. But the main job is to present the
material that can be seen. Things with visibility:hidden or display:none
can't be seen and are intended by the web designer to not be seen or heard.

Accessibility Consulting

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Mike Scott
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 2:44 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org; 'Phill Jenkins'
Subject: RE: Fw: putting reader text in hidden <div> tags / adding

>  Do you have a reference in the CSS spec that suggests that screen
>  read out loud content styled with Visibility: Hidden?

The reference Charles indicated
(http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/propidx.html) is the one I had seen.

>  nor do I think screen readers should read anything marked hidden.

"Skip Navigation" links are perfect examples of items that we might want
hidden but definitely should be read by a screen reader. (Instead of the
current workarounds like invisible images or text set to the same color
as the background.) Also, there could be cases where dynamically hidden
elements (such as pop-up or expanding/collapsing menus) also should be

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 10:44 AM
To: Phill Jenkins
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org; RandR@SEC.GOV; Mike Scott
Subject: Re: Fw: putting reader text in hidden <div> tags / adding

The display propperty is defined as referring to all presentation modes,
whereas the visilbility property only aspplies to visual modes,
according to the property index of CSS2



On Mon, 3 Dec 2001, Phill Jenkins wrote:

  Do you have a reference in the CSS spec that suggests that screen
  read out loud content styled with Visibility: Hidden?  I couldn't find
  nor do I think screen readers should read anything marked hidden.

  WCAG CSS techniques don't mention it, but it does discuss "display:

  Display property in CSS 2
  Visibility property in CSS2

  Why would a screen reader want to read out loud something that the
  marked as hidden?

  Alt text on an invisible image is still the best choice because it is
  supported best.

  HPR 3.02 is currently available from

  Phill Jenkins
  IBM Research Division - Accessibility Center
  11501 Burnet Rd,  Austin TX  78758    http://www.ibm.com/able

  Mike Scott <mscott@msfw.com>@w3.org on 12/02/2001 02:12:59 AM

  Sent by:  w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org

  To:   <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
  cc:   <RandR@SEC.GOV>
  Subject:  Re: Fw: putting reader text in hidden <div> tags / adding

  For what it's worth, the about-to-be-released IBM Home Page Reader
  3.02 will no longer read text with Display: None (or Visibility:
  JAWS (at least as of 4.0.103) will read it if Display: None (or
  Hidden) is set in the <style> block or in an external style sheet, but
  if it is set in-line.

  According to the CSS specs, screen readers should NOT read content
  Display: None but should read content with Visibility: Hidden.

  > The original senders address was not available but I thought this a
  > worthy question to toss out.
  > Hi, I'm a web developer for a federal agency website and a newcomer
  > this list. We are experimenting with adding text for for screen
  > to our home page and index pages that is hidden from the visual
  > browser window with the following coding:
  > <div style="display:none;">reader text goes here. . . .</div>
  > I have verified that Netscape 4.7, Explorer 5, and Opera 5.12 won't
  > show the hidden text visually but that IBM Home Page Reader will
  > read the text.  We haven't yet tested the coding with JAWS.
  > Is anyone else using this coding or can someone recommend another
  > approach?
  > What prompted this experimentation was that in conversation with
  > of our staff using screen readers, we discovered that our home page,
  > with 70+ links, is overwhelming. Visually the organization is clear,
  > but the screen reader simply reads all the links one after the other
  > without the benefit of identifying main link headings. We want to
  > a more explanatory menu for screen readers with just the main links
  > our important index pages, uncluttered by secondary links that they
  > would find on the second level index pages anyway.
  > Second question is: has anyone had success with adding coding that
  > provides a pause for screen readers between lists of links? Is that
  > important?
  > Thanks in advance for any help.
  > <snipped>
  > Bob Rand, Web developer
  > Securities and Exchange Commission

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61
409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1
617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Monday, 3 December 2001 18:10:01 UTC

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