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Re: OnChange in dropdown combo box used for navigation

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@home.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 18:01:13 -0500
Message-ID: <001301c18817$e7b97180$c2f20141@mtgmry1.md.home.com>
To: "STELZER,MELINDA \(Non-HP-PaloAlto,ex1\)" <melinda_stelzer@non.hp.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
consider that jaws would work with this and one other might work with
this.  Now ask, if I can find a way that provides accesss to a wider
audience than just these two that does no harm, would I want to follow
it?  I ask then, does having a combo box with a go button do any harm?
To answer your question, some older versions of jaws which are out there
in abundance do not handle this well at all.  I don't know how lynx
handles it but do know that there are choice boxes that lynx does
handle.  I am not trying to pick on you but I have seen a prolifferation
of those fancy combo boxes in ever increasing numbers and I think I even
understand why <one click after a drag> they are used but it seems to me
that it isn't really that much harder <click click click> perhaps to
implement the static one.  I'm glad you asked the question.  I find that
the one with the go button is much easier to use for most people I know
who can use either and that there are still many who cannot use the
other one.

----- Original Message -----
From: "STELZER,MELINDA (Non-HP-PaloAlto,ex1)"
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2001 4:42 PM
Subject: OnChange in dropdown combo box used for navigation

I was reading the discussion below concerning two different ways of
pages that use a dropdown, or "combo box" control as a navigation tool.
one method, the user must press the form button to cause the browser to
to the new destination, and in the other method, the "OnChange"
event causes the choice to take effect as soon as the selection is made.

I am trying to assess whether using the OnChange event to activate
navigation controls is accessible or not.  According to Charles, Jaws
often have problems with it.

There is a work around: pressing "ALT-DownArrow" will produce the effect
pressing the mouse button and holding it, and allow the user to
browse the dropdown with the arrow keys, without activating the OnChange
event.  Freedom Scientific says their users generally know this
Is it true?

Do other assistive tools have problems with the OnChange method of
activating dropdown navigation?

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
Sent: Sunday, December 09, 2001 7:19 AM
To: David Woolley
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org; cturne@essex.ac.uk
Subject: Re: Fw: [webwatch] Fw: [htmldesigners] What's the difference

Yes, what happens for a mouse user is that they click on the box
in explorer to alt-down arrow) and then scroll up und down the list
they have selected the item tehy want, at which point they release.

Usually there is no visual difference - the following button is often
provided, but a javascript frees the user from having to click it.

I think that the problem is not with HTML, but with browsers that force
onChange event to be fired when you try to select with the arrow keys,
instead of waiting for you to move out of the combobox before
whether you have changed the selected item.

I don't know how many browsers have this problem, although I have noted
a common experience for users of Jaws with IE.


Charles McCN

On Sun, 9 Dec 2001, David Woolley wrote:

  > > kind of comboboxes which only activate when you press some button
  > after
  > > them, as opposed to the ones which activate as soon as you press
  > cursor
  > > down.  I mean what would a mouse-user do with these different
kinds of

  This sounds like a case of Document Object Model (popularly called
  JavaScript) onchange events being used.  The change wouldn't be
  recognized until the mouse button was released.  It's not an HTML
  problem, but a designer problem (designing only for clicking with a

  Plain HTML will not do this.

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61
134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1
258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Tuesday, 18 December 2001 18:01:05 UTC

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