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Re: Icons vs. Menus

From: Andy J.W.Affleck <listaccount@raggedcastle.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 08:43:41 -0400
Message-Id: <14B6F65C-E6DD-11D8-A1BD-000A95CA1658@raggedcastle.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: "Liz Layman" <LLayman@ifmc.sdps.org>

I wasn't asking about navigation or skip navigation. I use that 
regularly in all of my designs. I was asking specifically about the use 
of forms-based menus to replace a group of icons so as to reduce the 
amount of "ear clutter" heard in a screen reader. My understanding is 
that a page with 100 or so icons would have all 100's alt text read. 
But grouping those 100 into, say, 10 menus only has screen readers 
saying "Label of menu: menu, 10 items" or somesuch.

I was basically checking to see if my understanding is correct and this 
is a good way to improve the usability for screen reader users while 
not compromising graphical browser usability.


On Aug 4, 2004, at 11:12 AM, Liz Layman wrote:

> We utilize the "Skip Navigation" as the first link a screen reader will
> encounter (typically the first item read placed in upper left corner).
> We make the navigation all accessible (various sites have more or less
> horizontal/vertical options) as well.  An assistive technology user can
> choose to view the navigation or skip the navigation and go right to
> where the content starts on each page (use d-linking).
> http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm
> See letter 'O'
> http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm#(o)
> Thank you,
> Liz Layman
> Programmer I
> IFMC Information Systems
> Iowa Foundation for Medical Care
> llayman@ifmc.sdps.org
> 515-440-8580
>>>> Andy J.W.Affleck <listaccount@raggedcastle.com> 8/4/2004 8:39:15 AM
> I'm redesigning an older UI for a content management system. Currently,
> in the administrative/management interface, every content item is
> wrapped in a box at the top of which is a group of controls and icons:
> Select this item checkbox (for working with multiple items at once) and
> then a series of icons: move to top, move up, move down, move to
> bottom, edit, spell check, make public/not-public, etc. At the very top
> of the page are another set of icons for working with the selected
> items.
> All told, there are a whole lotta icons on the page (there's also
> navigation management on the left side of the page with a whole other
> group of controls/icons).
> In a screen reader this UI is, as you would guess, a nightmare. Every
> single piece of text, ever single alt attribute, everything is read. A
> page with a lot of content could take a long time to get through.
> In thinking about streamlining the UI so that it is still visually
> usable but also far friendlier in a screen reader I am considering two
> approaches. One is to simply move the navigation management to its own
> screen so you are either working on the content OR the navigation
> rather than having both on one screen. This simplifies things and also
> makes each page have its own focus rather than trying to be a
> full-dashboard.
> Second, and this is where I am turning to this list for advice, is to
> get rid of the icons. It seems to me from what I have seen and read
> that form-based menus are the answer. I'd have the checkbox to select
> an item and then a menu of controls. Screen readers read the labels for
> both and mention that there is a menu of X items but don't actually
> read all the items unless requested to do so. This, to me, seem like
> the right approach. Thoughts?
> Thanks
> -A
> Andy J. W. Affleck
> listaccount@raggedcastle.com
> http://www.raggedcastle.com/webcrumbs/
> iChatAV/AIM: andyjw23
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Andy J. W. Affleck
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Received on Thursday, 5 August 2004 08:43:53 UTC

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