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RE: Using ARIA to control screen readers

From: Terrill Bennett <list.w3c@spam-message.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2010 09:13:03 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <20101115141341.51CB6EE0AC@homiemail-a16.g.dreamhost.com>
I've forged an idea into an example. I think it answers the question 
"can long descriptions be hidden from screen readers until requested?"

I have supplied recordings of NVDA and JAWS, and links to all 
materials at the bottom of the article:


or: http://goo.gl/eAtpU

As explained in the article:

* The example uses buttons (reformatted to look like 
double-underlined phrases commonly seen on "Hover Help" items).
* Mouse users get long descriptions in balloons.
* Screen readers get an update to a WAI-ARIA Live region when 
activating the button.
* No special keys and associated programming are required.
* The example can be extended to other items and purposes.

My example uses buttons for two reasons:
  1. Buttons and ARIA play nice with both JAWS+IE8 and NVDA+Firefox, 
while links and ARIA require more programming for JAWS+IE8.
  2. If CSS is turned off, it degrades nicely when the hidden ARIA 
region and initial instructions become visible to mouse users.

There are caveats, such as this example ignores older browsers (e.g. 
Internet Explorer 6) and / or other screen reader + browser 
combinations. It's up to you to adjust! Browsers can easily be 
detected, screen readers cannot be detected without using technology 
such as Flash.

Again, it's an idea gone wild - just to prove a point. But you have 
to start somewhere. Comments, concerns, suggestions, your solution, 
as well as winning Lottery tickets accepted!


-- Terrill --

"No animals were hurt or injured during this experiment."
Received on Monday, 15 November 2010 14:14:13 UTC

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