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Seeking input on making a feature of draft W3C site more accessible

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 15:06:50 -0500
Message-Id: <36613F18-7CD3-4443-9639-55998D23725F@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Dear WAI IG,

I would like your input on a comment about the draft W3C Web site and  
would like your input on how to make a particular feature more  

The draft site includes an expand/collapse content feature. For  
example, on the page that lists W3C groups:

when you select a heading under "Working Groups" the heading 'expands'  
to display content after it. When content is displayed, selecting the  
heading 'collapses' it, hiding the content. Expanding and collapsing  
both work with mouse click or keyboard activation.

We use a visual cue (a small image) to signal that there is expandable  
content. It was pointed out that we need a non-visual indicator as  
well. In the current design, the image is included via CSS and so we  
cannot add alt text.

Here's how the site works today:

   * If javascript is turned off or not supported, the content is  
expanded and the issue goes away.

   * When javascript is enabled, there is one image to indicate  
"closed" and another to indicate "open." The images are inserted via  
CSS. The javascript is used to position a class attribute value in the  
content, and the CSS is applied accordingly (displaying or hiding  
content according to the current state).

One suggestion was to use WAI-ARIA's aria-expanded. However, this will  
provide information only to users whose browser and assistive  
technology support WAI-ARIA, and not to others.

Typically there are a number of expandable blocks on a page (ranging  
from 5 to maybe 100 at most). Therefore,  I want to be sure that any  
solution (e.g., using text) is not overly verbose.

Possible solution: On some pages that have expandable content there is  
a "show all / hide all" switch. That switch appears earlier in  
document order than the list of expandable blocks. I was wondering  
whether we might make use of that piece of content to let people know  
that there's a bunch of expandable content on the page. For example,  
would it be sufficient to label the option buttons: "Show all content  
under heading level 3s below" and "Hide all content under heading  
level 3s below" and not have additional information that they are  

Thank you for any suggestions,

Ian Jacobs

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:07:00 UTC

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