W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 2000

Re: screen readers, browsers,

From: Lloyd G. Rasmussen <lras@loc.gov>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 15:19:20 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: aaron@gwmicro.com
Here is a late, late reply to the January thread concerning support of
image maps by screen readers.  I will append the whole MSAA buffer contents
below.  This is what you get with Window-Eyes 4.0 beta 3 and IE 5.5, the
latest combination of screen reader and browser available.  If you examine
the page with MS Active Accessibility turned off, you must navigate using a
combination of the Tab key, routing the mouse pointer, and moving the mouse
pointer line by line.  The URLs in the image map get longer, becoming fully
qualified rather than abbreviated.  As you can see, there is no support for
Long-desc.  It is GW Micro's contention that the HTML 4 spec gives
preference to title attributes over Alt attributes on items such as frames
and image maps, So I think that if the map were coded with titles, it would
work in the way that Len expected.  I think that we have a problem
sometimes, giving authors too many "right" ways to do things in the name of

Image Map Test
skip to image map 1
skip to image map 2
skip to image 3
skip to image map 4
results (a thread in the WAI IG mailing list)
This is a test page to find out about how well browsers and screenreaders
pictures with selectable areas ("image maps").
Test 1.
The first test is an image with four selectable areas.  There's ALT text
for the
image as a whole and ALT text for each area in the image.
The image as a whole has alt text  "Picture of a compass"
The four individual areas have ALT text "north", "south", "east", and "west".
The questions are
Does the user hear the ALT text for the whole image, viz. "Picture of a
Does the user hear the ALT text for the individual areas?
Can the user select the linked pages.  (The linked pages read "You clicked
on North",
You clicked on South", etc.)
Picture of a Compass.
Test 2
This is the same as test 1, except that
The ALT text for the whole image is now "Select a direction"
The image has a LONGDESC "Antique Compass Dial".
Select a direction
Test 3
This is an ordinary image, not an image map, with ALT text and LONGDESC.
Test 4
This is the same as test 2, except for the following.  In test 2, the image
map is
inside a table.  In this test it stands alone.
Select a direction
Here's results documented in a thread in the WAI interest group
You can post additional comments in the
 thread, or send other comments to
Note: image is from
Icon Bazaar
 (with some editing).

Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress    (202) 707-0535  <lras@loc.gov>
HOME:  <lras@sprynet.com>   <http://lras.home.sprynet.com
Received on Monday, 14 August 2000 15:19:22 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:35:57 UTC