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Re: The title attribute and screen readers

for

From: Egan, Bim
Date: Jun 29, 2007 3:10AM


Jeanne pointed out:

"The title attribute of a link is not read, unless the
user sets an option in JAWS to read the title instead of the link text.
Since most people want to hear the link text, this is not an option that
is often set. In the user tests we have done, no JAWS user has had this
option set to read title text."

Which is absolutely correct, in addition don't forget that screen reader
users aren't the only people who may be denied important information if
it is in the Title attribute.

The title "tooltip" appears only on mouse hover, there is no user
action (such as switching off images to reveal the ALT attribute), to
make this information visible.

So, among the people to add to the screen reader users we have:
* People with impaired mobility who navigate via the keyboard.
* Those with shaky hands who do use a mouse, as the "tooltip"
disappears instantly when the mouse moves off the link.
* Screen magnification users whose magnified viewport reveals so little
of the "tooltip" that they may only see "Opens in " or "(new win" ...
warnings shouldn't be something the user needs to guess at.
* People with Retinitis Pigmentosa (commonly called "Tunnel vision"),
who use their remaining vision, which is another very restricted
viewport, and may not even be vertically deep enough to include the
"tooltip".
* People with dyslexia, this might not apply to a new window warning,
which should be short, but the fact remains that the "tooltip"
disappears in five seconds, which may not be long enough for them to
read the message.

I've gone into more detail on the dangers of using the title attribute
in RNIB's WACblog at:
http://www.rnib.org.uk/wacblog/articles/too-much-accessibility/too-much-
accessibility-title-attributes/

Bim
-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Spellman,
Jeanne
Sent: 27 June 2007 18:23
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] The title attribute and screen readers

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.)"

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?
END QUOTE

You are correct. The title attribute of a link is not read, unless the
user sets an option in JAWS to read the title instead of the link text.
Since most people want to hear the link text, this is not an option that
is often set. In the user tests we have done, no JAWS user has had this
option set to read title text.

I was unimpressed with the Samurai errata. A quick read turned up
enough misinformation (the title attributes error you noted, the
assumption that layout tables are inaccessible) that I could not take it
seriously, and I found the self-righteous tone condescending and
unprofessional. The Samurai don't appear to have tested their theories
with an actual screen reader, let alone test with real users with
disabilities. They appear to be web standards fundamentalists using
accessibility to add legitimacy.

The WCAG process may be flawed, but it is better than this.

jeanne