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RE: CSS nested list menus, how much is too much?

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 21:57:13 -0400
To: "'Rebecca Cox'" <rebecca@signify.co.nz>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00da01c59ee1$2a150ce0$6401a8c0@bosshog>

Rebecca Cox wrote:
> Hi peops
> With the new method that a lot of people are using to create
> "accessible, semantic" dropdown menus I am wondering if its all good
> in accessibility terms or not.

Hello Rebecca,

Funny you should bring this up... It was just a recent topic over on the
WebAIM discussion list.  The archive is here:

However, the gist of what you are saying is 100% correct.  Just because
you can "hide" them until you need them doesn't make them go away, and
too many navigation choices at any time can cause confusion and poor
user results most of the time.  There are references and links in the
WebAIM posting to back this up if you need them.

That said, well developed nested list navigation deploying "fly outs" or
"drop downs" can be made relatively accessible from a technical
perspective today.  Search out PVII or Brothercake's source codes:

PVII's Pop Menu Magic: http://www.projectseven.com/
Brothercake's  Ultimate Drop Down Menu 4.44: http://www.udm4.com/

> I'm interested in whether others see this as a problem, and if so what
> solutions people are using.

Problem is a relative term.  This type of navigation taken to extremes
can cause accessibility issues (if, as you note, there is too much
navigation to choose from).  Deciding what is "too much" however is a
subjective call, along the lines of "what is appropriate alt text?"
There is no firm guidance here, although I did go on a bit about the
magic number 7 in the WebAIM posting...

For this reason, I would generally caution developers who are under a
"stricter" accessibility compliance watch to be *very* careful, as the
subjective decision will always need to be defended.  So be prepared to
do so if that is the case.


John Foliot  foliot@wats.ca
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
Phone: 1-613-482-7053 
Received on Friday, 12 August 2005 01:57:31 UTC

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