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Re: Hiding Headings

From: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 23:32:42 +0200
Message-ID: <4FDF9E7A.3080607@ramoncorominas.com>
To: Russ Weakley <russ@maxdesign.com.au>
CC: Vivienne CONWAY <v.conway@ecu.edu.au>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi, Russ and all,

I would say that WAI-ARIA roles are the future of structural 
identification of the zones of a webpage, but maybe it is far from being 
a technique that we can rely upon for accessibility.

The latest WebAIM survey has shown that the number of people using ARIA 
roles have not increased significantly since 2010, and that headings are 
still the main mechanism for screen reader users to find information in 
a page.

Moreover, the WebAIM survey is probably biased and the users responding 
to it are far from being a representative sample of the "average screen 
reader user" (if something like "average user" exists at all). So, I 
would conclude that many -the majority of- screen reader users are still 
not aware of ARIA roles and that we still need to provide them with 
"tratitional" clues to find and navigate content.


Russ wrote:

> In 2006 Roger Hudson and I did a range of testing with blind users. 
> <http://www.usability.com.au/resources/source-order.cfm>
> We noticed that screen-reader and refreshable braille device users found the different content areas of the page hard to define and sometimes confusing - content that was not confusing for sighted uses. However, when descriptive headings were added to the page the purpose of each area ofd the page become much clearer for these users. 
> We decided to call these headings “structural labels”, though others may have been using the technique well before this time.
> "The inclusion of structural labels seems to be an effective and relatively simple solution to the significant problem some screen reader users have in identifying the different elements on a page."
> Of course, that was before WAI-ARIA landmark roles - which allow us to describe chunks of content without having to resort to "work arounds" like hidden headings. I'd say the use of hidden headings to aid AT's is out of date and unnecessary now... but I'd love to hear other opinions too!
Received on Monday, 18 June 2012 21:33:37 UTC

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