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Re: Seeking guidance [more about scripts]

From: Gerald G. Weichbrodt <gerald.g.weichbrodt@ived.gm.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 15:34:42 -0400
Message-ID: <00cf01bf9fff$283bae60$f8daac82@GMTC.MPG.GM.COM>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi Paul.  Just a comment or two, if I may, concerning DHTML menus.  I'll
comment on your comments in context:

> The menus in question from a previous post (at www.webaim.org) are written
> in DHTML. This means that a combination of javascript and style sheet
> elements are being used. In theory, I would think that screen readers such
> as JAWS should be able to read most DHTML content as long as the DHTML
> events can be triggered by the keyboard. (Right now, the WebAIM menus are
> triggered by mouseover events).

Paul, I have been tangling with some sliding menus that our in-house
developers have been using on our intranet, and I'm growing a little
skeptical about just how well such things work with JAWS.  For instance, I
believe some menus are made to appear and disappear through the use of style
sheets, and I believe I've been finding that menus made to appear and
disappear in this way remain visible to JAWS due to the fact they're just
being visually hidden.  It's not as if they don't exist in the "virtual
layout" of the page.  As a consequence, the menus in use here are "always
open" on my machine, and if I override the web authors' colors by using the
accessibility settings in Internet Explorer 5, then suddenly the menus are
constantly present on the screen and create an overlaid mishmash that isn't
even visually appealing.  Still, people like those sliding menus.

Another problem is that, even when you can press <Enter> on an active link,
you may not necessarily have your screen reader's view of the document get
refreshed with the change in content on the screen automatically.  As an
example, try using JAWS for Windows version 3.5 with Internet Explorer 5 and
going to http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/downloads/vsi/faq.asp and press
<Enter> on the "Collapse all headings" and "Expand all headings" links.  I
find that these links actually do trigger when I press <Enter> on them, but
I have to press Insert+Escape to "update" my screen for JAWS to become aware
that something has changed.

My point in all of this is that the interaction between screen readers and
browsers can be more than meets the sighted viewer's eye, and this
introduces additional stumbling blocks into making popus and menus work for
blind users and perhaps for other specialized groups as well.

Jerry Weichbrodt
Received on Thursday, 6 April 2000 15:35:07 UTC

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