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Re: drop down lists

From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 22:53:17 -0500
Message-ID: <4053D72D.4020806@wgbh.org>
To: Kelly Pierce <kpierce2000@earthlink.net>
Cc: Jon Gunderson <jongund@uiuc.edu>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I went to the reference cited and found this describing the "keystroke."

>. ALT+DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box
>Microsoft's explanation in this reference does not seem to be sufficient
>enough for a blind person to know how to choose an item from a drop down
>list on a web page without activating random items in the list.  One needs
>to do more than simply hold down the alt and down arrow keys simultaneously.
>Contrast Microsoft's explanation to Jon's thorough and highly useful
That is true, no doubt.  Having a well-written description of what to do 
is always better than just knowing a keystroke.  In this case, despite 
the existence of a (minimally) documented shortcut, I always recommend 
that a button be provided to submit the form and that the onchange 
javascript event handler not be used on a drop down list. 

It is harder when you are asked whether the presence of a drop down that 
links to a different page without a submit button (using onchange) means 
that the page is not in compliance with wcag, 508, or some other 
standard.  There is a way to interact successfully with the form, it is 
just not well known.  I would say that this type of element presents 
usability problems for keyboard users because people aren't familiar 
with it, but it is accessible (to windows users, assuming that browsers 
support this windows keyboard standard and that there is a good noscript 
that adds in a submit button if javascript is disabled).


Andrew Kirkpatrick, Project Manager
WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
Received on Sunday, 14 March 2004 18:17:14 UTC

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