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Re: The title attribute and screen readers

for

From: Loretta Guarino Reid
Date: Jun 25, 2007 11:10AM


Hi, Paul,

Here are some techniques related to the use of the title attribute
from the current draft of Techniques for WCAG 2.0. The technique
descriptions contain notes about User Agent support.

- Supplementing link text with the title attribute
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H33

- Using the title attribute of the frame element
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H64

- Using the title attribute to identify form controls when the label
element cannot be used
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H65

Additional User Agent notes about use of the title attribute can be
found in the following techniques:

- Providing definitions for abbreviations by using the abbr and
acronym elements
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H28

- Providing link text that describes the purpose of a link for anchor
elements http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H30

- Using definition lists
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H40

- Using label elements to associate text labels with form controls
http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H44





On 6/25/07, Paul Collins < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Thanks for your responses all.
>
> > Please note that the WCAG Samurai is in draft right now.
>
> Good point, I will wait to see what they recommend in the final draft.
>
> > Without some clarification of the specification itself, we'll continue
> > to have divergent opinions on the use of title. Until then, I'm going
> > to take a fairly conservative approach to their use.
>
> It would be great to get some examples from either the WCAG Samurai or
> the even the WAI themselves on when it is good and bad to use titles.
> In addition to this a list of how they behave when they are accessed
> not just by screen readers, but by other assistive software such as
> Zoom Text would be great to get one day.
>
> I think I will use them cautiously in the meantime also.
>
> Cheers
> Paul
>
>
> On 25/06/07, Jared Smith < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> > On 6/25/07, Paul Collins wrote:
> >
> > > After reading the WCAG1 errata by the WCAG Samurai recently, I came
> > > across this one which got my curiosity:
> >
> > Please note that the WCAG Samurai is in draft right now. The final
> > version is due to be released this week, so things may change. And
> > this is one of several points in the Samurai that is in conflict with
> > conventional accessibility recommendations.
> >
> > > 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 agree. This really depends on how you interpret the words "advisory
> > information" from the HTML spec regarding title attribute. Joe and the
> > gang seem to interpret it to mean that it can contain more important
> > or even vital information. Most accessibility recommendations today
> > suggest limiting title to non-vital, supplementary information. Much
> > of this, however, arises from the fact that screen readers didn't have
> > an option for reading title until recently.
> >
> > > Can anyone give me their thoughts on the title attribute and how they are using
> > > it currently?
> >
> > I use it only for supplementary information. While screen readers
> > *may* read it, most will not. Ever. The title attribute is much abused
> > and I imagine most screen reader users would rather ignore the garbage
> > than catch the occasional tidbit of useful information they contain.
> >
> > Also, there is no method for keyboard only access to title information
> > for sighted keyboard users. This is entirely a user agent issue, but
> > is another check mark against using title for important information.
> >
> > > ZOOM TEXT
> > > 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>
> >
> > Yes, it would be annoying. This example does seem to be contradictory
> > to the "advisory information" language of the spec. However, you could
> > certainly argue that "This is an important heading" would be advisory.
> >
> > Without some clarification of the specification itself, we'll continue
> > to have divergent opinions on the use of title. Until then, I'm going
> > to take a fairly conservative approach to their use.
> >
> > Jared Smith
> > WebAIM
> >