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Drop down menus (was RE: examples of sites with good accessibility)

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 10:42:33 -0700
To: "'Alastair Campbell'" <ac@nomensa.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <007601c6f3a5$f8800250$428e40ab@Piglet>

Alastair Campbell wrote:
> Apart from the in-escapable factors of drop-down/out menus (e.g.
> hiding options), I haven't been able to fault it. Although, this is a
> tough audience, maybe someone else will spot something ;)  

Ah yes, brothercake's Ultimate Drop Down Menu.

>From a technical perspective, this is pretty bullet-proof and has been
widely tested and deployed.  Brothercake (aka James Edwards) is committed to
web standards and has more than a passing understanding of web accessibility

The issue with this type of navigation scheme is that it allows content
developers to visually "hide away" a lot of information that would otherwise
cause a sensory overload.  But for non-visual, non-standard user
agents/renderings, those very same links are still there.  It becomes a
point at which there is simply too much information for any human to deal
with, blind or otherwise - it is a cognitive issue.  I had the opportunity
to do a review of a navigation prototype for a large US company that
actually used brothercake's UDDM, and the dev team then crammed 182 separate
links into the nav-bar.  *182!!* (Mental picture of John screaming and
pulling his very short hair out).

And so Alastair, while I can't technically fault the code, content creators
need to be cautioned about using this type of solution - proceed with
caution, and please, for the love of all that is sacred *DO NOT* slam 182
links into the menu bar.

John Foliot 
Academic Technology Specialist 
Stanford Online Accessibility Program
Stanford University
560 Escondido Mall 
Meyer Library 181 
Stanford, CA 94305-3093 
Received on Thursday, 19 October 2006 17:42:55 UTC

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