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The title attribute and screen readers

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From: Paul Collins
Date: Jun 25, 2007 8:10AM


Hi all,

After reading the WCAG1 errata by the WCAG Samurai recently, I came
across this one which got my curiosity:

QUOTE
"Do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the
current window without informing the user. (Plain text is the
preferred method of informing the user. The title attribute on a
hyperlink a element can suffice.)"
END QUOTE

I was always under the impression that the title attribute would not
be read out by default using the bulk of screen readers and therefore
it should not be used to convey vital information like a popup window
about to occur.

I've been doing some reading and this still seems to be the case, but
perhaps I am not looking at up-to date articles either? Can anyone
give me their thoughts on the title attribute and how they are using
it currently?

ZOOM TEXT
In the past, when using image replacement on titles, I had added the
title attribute displaying the same as the graphic, so people using
Zoom Text could at least enlarge this. However, if titles were now to
be read out with screen reading software, this would become really
annoying as it would be read out twice. EG:

<h1 class="replace" title="This is a heading"><em></em>This is a heading</h1>

Am I going the down the appropriate path by still doing this?

Cheers
Paul