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Re: improved select boxes - still accessible

From: Bryan Garaventa <bryan.garaventa@whatsock.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2012 09:32:02 -0700
Message-ID: <D09A5A94121A4D2B9BAA117769383589@WAMPAS>
To: "Marc Haunschild" <mh@zadi.de>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "WebAIM Discussion List" <webaim-forum@list.webaim.org>
I agree, this is somewhat confusing. I'm including the W3C and WebAim list 
on this because I think this is an important issue to bring up to the 

Here is the tag structure for each of the select items in the sample you 

<LI class="select2-results-dept-1 select2-result select2-result-selectable 
select2-highlighted" jQuery17108271382708004837="227"><DIV 

The only thing that is happening when the arrow keys are used to navigate 
the select options, is that the class 'highlighted' is being toggled. 
Nothing else is occurring.

The only way to make a control such as this keyboard accessible, is to use 
tabindex=0 on each div tag when it's selected, and to either remove tabindex 
or set it to '-1' for every div that is not currently highlighted, then set 
focus to each such div programmatically using the .focus() method every time 
the arrow keys are pressed.

Only then will the addition of ARIA actually work correctly. CSS cannot be 
used for this purpose.

Google has also done something similar at

Where, after logging in with your Google account login, you will find 6 ARIA 
tree controls in the heading navigation.

If you press Insert+F5 using JAWS, you can see them listed there in the Form 
Field list dialog.

All of these controls include ARIA to make them accessible, and every single 
one of them is completely inaccessible for screen reader users, because none 
of them are keyboard accessible.

This is why I've been saying that these concepts are critical for developers 
to understand.

Otherwise, such inaccessible controls will continue to be propagated across 
the web with the assumption that ARIA will make them accessible, even when 
it won't.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marc Haunschild" <mh@zadi.de>
To: "Bryan Garaventa" <bryan.garaventa@whatsock.com>
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 1:26 AM
Subject: Re: improved select boxes - still accessible

> Obviously there is something I do not understand: the visual change made 
> by the CSS happens when the Element gets focus
> The selector is :focus
> And I CAN navigate with the arrow keys?!?
> We still talk about select 2 at http://ivaynberg.github.com/select2/, do 
> we?
> Am 17.08.2012 20:03, schrieb Bryan Garaventa:
>> Hi, I understand your point.
>> It's not a matter of the select action actually, but rather, the 
>> programmatic functionality.
>> The problem that I've been seeing a lot lately, is a widespread 
>> assumption that the use of ARIA will make something accessible.
>> This is not actually true; ARIA will enhance accessibility for a control 
>> that is already accessible, but it can't make something that is not 
>> accessible, accessible.
>> For example, in the case of the select controls,
>> However, literal keyboard focus is not being set on the various list 
>> options when the keyboard is used to navigate between each select item. 
>> You can see this by disabling CSS in your browser, then try to set focus 
>> on the link that activates the drop down, activate it, then try using the 
>> arrow keys to see where focus is set.
>> You will see that focus is not actually being moved between the various 
>> options, making this control impossible to function from the keyboard, 
>> and impossible to make a selection in the same manner as when you use the 
>> mouse to click a select item like "West Virginia". If you refrain from 
>> using the mouse, it won't work.
>> I've seen this before, where CSS is used to make something appear to be 
>> happening, but in actuality, nothing is. This causes many problems, 
>> because nothing that occurs in CSS for simulating the movement of focus 
>> is accessible from the keyboard, and the use of ARIA in cases such as 
>> these, only changes the feedback of an inaccessible control for screen 
>> reader users, but doesn't make it any more accessible.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Marc Haunschild" <mh@zadi.de>
>> To: "Bryan Garaventa" <bryan.garaventa@whatsock.com>
>> Sent: Friday, August 17, 2012 2:28 AM
>> Subject: Re: improved select boxes - still accessible
>>> Hi Bryan,
>>> thanks for your answer - as far as I understood, hitting return (or 
>>> clicking an item) does not do anything, because using this example does 
>>> not trigger any action. It just shows how to select items, but nothing 
>>> is sent. ;-)
>>> Marc
>>> Am 16.08.2012 08:27, schrieb Bryan Garaventa:
>>>> If this is helpful, I've updated the ARIA Listbox Generator, documented 
>>>> at
>>>> http://lnkd.in/CKfG9x
>>>> The ARIA Listbox Generator automates the process of rendering keyboard 
>>>> and screen reader accessible listbox controls, which are instantiated 
>>>> as independent Listbox objects.
>>>> These Listbox objects support current selection tracking, callbacks, 
>>>> dynamic addition and deletion of new option elements, dynamic getting 
>>>> and setting, keyboard accessible sortability, and multiselect.
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Marc Haunschild" <mh@zadi.de>
>>>> To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 10:46 PM
>>>> Subject: improved select boxes - still accessible
>>>>> Hi everyone,
>>>>> I found two really interesting javaScript upgrades for select boxes. I 
>>>>> want to use them, but I wonder if they are accessible in jaws and 
>>>>> other screenreader software.
>>>>> Also I would like to get some general feedback. Is it confusing to 
>>>>> interact with these modified boxes? Or do you think the improvements 
>>>>> are helpful?
>>>>> I am grateful for any response!
>>>>> Thanks for your help!
>>>>> Marc 
Received on Monday, 20 August 2012 16:32:53 UTC

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