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screen readers, browsers, & the reporting of ALT on & in image maps

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 00:54:21 -0500
Message-Id: <4.1.20000111232621.00c38890@pop3.concentric.net>
Message-Id: <4.1.20000111232621.00c38890@pop3.concentric.net>
To: "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
Cc: WAI Interest Group Emailing List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
in response to len's request to the WAI-IG list, asking screen reader users to
visit his image map test page located at:
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/image_map.html
and report what they heard...

1. using MSIE 5.01 with JFW 3.5 (Public Beta)

1A. when reading the entire page, JFW 3.5 reported:

graphic picture of a compass
north image map link
south image map link
east image map link
west image map link

1B. when tabbing through the links, JFW 3.5 reported:

north image map link
south image map link
east image map link
west image map link

(which is what i would expect and what i desire to hear if i am tabbing through
the page)

1C. using the JFW 3.5 "List of Links" keystroke (INSERT+F7), the links on the
page were listed as:

North
South
East
West
kasday@acm.or (len, the "g" in "org" lies outside the hyperlink!)
Icon Bazaar

(NOTE: no variance noted between image loading turned off and image loading
turned on)

2. using MSIE 5.01 with JFW 3.31

2A. when reading the entire page, JFW 3.31 reported:

graphic picture of a compass
north image map link
south image map link
east image map link
west image map link

2B. when tabbing through the links, JFW 3.31 reported:

north image map link
south image map link
east image map link
west image map link

2C. using the JFW 3.31 "List of Links" keystroke (INSERT+F7), the links on the
page were listed as:

North
South
East
West
kasday@acm.or
Icon Bazaar

(NOTE: no variance noted between image loading turned off and image loading
turned on)

3. JFW 3.2 didn't like MSIE 5.01 at all, so i tried the page by running MSIE
4.01 in "compatibility mode"

3A. when listening to the page in toto using JFW 3.2, JAWS read only up to the
sentence:
        Here's the image.

3B. when tabbing through the links, JFW 3.31 reported:

north image map link
south image map link
east image map link
west image map link

3C. using JFW 3.2's "List of Links Feature", the links were listed as:

South
East
West
http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ww.html
kasday@acm.or
Icon Bazaar

suggesting (at least to me) that the ALT for the image used for the image map
and the ALT defined for the AREA that corresponds to "north" obscured each
other from JFW 3.2

(Note; JFW 3.2 appeared to have some difficulty with image loading turned off,
but that may have more to do with MSIE's compatibility mode than with JFW 3.2)

4. Lynx32 renders the ALT text Picture of a Compass as a hyperlink (which
suggests that a better textual equivalent could be "Picture of a Compass, used
as in image map" or (my preference), "Select A Direction"

when one does follow the image map link, the four AREAs are listed in an
ordered list

        * [1] North
        * [2] South
        * [3] East
        * [4] West

 on a page whose TITLE is the ALT test defined for the image "Picture of a
Compass", has a level 1 header "Picture of a Compass", and which displays the
URL of the "MAP:"

5. using JFW 3.5 (Public Beta) with Opera 3.61 with images turned off, no AREAs
were exposed, but the ALT text defined for the image was rendered

6. using JFW 3.5 (Public Beta) with Opera 3.61 with images turned on:i could
tab through the image map, but JFW 3.31 couldn't discern the ALT text defined
for each -- all that was echoed was "Tab" "Tab" "Tab" "Tab" "Tab"
"kasday@acm.or", etc.

i was, however, able to verify that i was, indeed, blindly navigating the image
map by hitting enter after moving backwards with the TAB key until JFW 3.31
reported "Top of Window"

7. using JFW 3.31 with Opera 3.61 with images turned off, no AREAs were
exposed, but the ALT text defined for the image was rendered

8. using JFW 3.31 with Opera 3.61 with images turned on:i could tab through the
image map, but JFW 3.31 couldn't discern the ALT text defined for each -- all
that was echoed was "Tab" "Tab" "Tab" "Tab" "Tab" "kasday@acm.or", etc.
i was, however, able to verify that i was, indeed, blindly navigating the image
map by hitting enter after moving backwards with the TAB key until JFW 3.31
reported "Top of Window", and pressing enter, whereupon i was taken to the
North page

9. using JFW 3.2 with Opera 3.61 with images turned off, no AREAs were exposed,
but the ALT text defined for the image was rendered

10. using JFW 3.2 with Opera 3.61 with image loading turned on,:i could tab
through the image map, but JFW 3.31 couldn't discern the ALT text defined for
each, but the URL contained in the HREF associated with each image was spoken
each time i TABed

        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_nn.html
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ss.html
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ee.html
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ww.html

i was able to follow the link announced as
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_nn.html
to the North page...

11. using JFW 3.5 (Public Beta) with Netscape Navigator 4.08, with image
loading turned off, i was able to tab through the image map, but only the URLs
contained in the HREF associated with each image was spoken each time i TABed

        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_nn.html
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ss.html
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ee.html
        http://astro.temple.edu/~kasday/web_access/map_ww.html

however, from a navigational standpoint, i was trapped inside the image map,
and nothing i did with the mouse emulation cursor outside of the image map
would allow me to escape from the image map....  moreover, while i could
activate the hyperlinks on the page using the mouse emulation cursor and the
left mouse click key equivalent, i couldn't route the mouse emulation cursor to
the PC cursor when i was trapped inside the image map... 

(Note: the ALT text defined for the image was NOT, however, rendered)

12. using JFW 3.5 (Public Beta) with Netscape Navigator 4.07, with image
rendering turned on and off, i could tab through the image map, but that was
all that i could navigate to using the TAB key...  i was thuroughly trapped in
the image map, and nothing i did with the mouse emulation cursor outside of the
image map would allow me to escape from the image map....  moreover, while i
could activate the hyperlinks on the page using the mouse emulation cursor and
the left mouse click key equivalent, i couldn't route the mouse emulation
cursor to the PC cursor when i was trapped inside the image map... 

i hope that this helps...

my conclusions are that image map support is so inconsistently implemented and
subject to so many variables, that it should be avoided if possible -- and
avoidance can mean something as simple as prefacing the image map with 2 links:

1. Skip to Textual Navigation Bar (which would link to a textual equivalent of
the links contained in the image map)
and
2. Skip Navigation Bar

so that i could choose -- depending upon my mood, need, the nature of the page,
the UA and AT i was using at the time -- either to peruse a textual navigation
bar (i.e. the type of redundant text links recommended by WCAG when using an
image map), or to skip directly to the main content of the page (something that
JFW 3.31 and 3.5 do quite well, via a screen-reader hot-key, INSERT+ENTER,
which jumps the virtual PC cursor (which JFW 3.31 and 3.5 use to navigate MSIE)
to the first header on the page -- an extremely helpful feature when attempting
to get information quickly from a heavily link laden page, such as those
promulgated by news and financial services, where one would otherwise have to
listen to or tab through 40, 50, or more links in order to get to what one's
eyeballs automatically focus upon as the informational cornerstone slash
keystone of the page when interacting with the document visually...

i will attempt to replicate my tests with HAL95, as time and health permits,

gregory

PS: i have BCCed this emessage to the User Agent and Web Content Guidelines
lists, so that they might also use this information, but explicitly sent it
only to the WAI-IG list, as i want to keep this thread in a single
hyperarchive, hence the BCCing
--------------------------------------------------------
He that lives on Hope, dies farting
     -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
--------------------------------------------------------
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
   WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
        <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
--------------------------------------------------------
Received on Wednesday, 12 January 2000 00:45:57 GMT

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