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Re: accessible tree menus


From: Donna Jones
Date: Feb 23, 2009 10:20PM

> In our experience of user testing, expandable menus always cause problems
> for screen reader users. This is predominantly because they are only ever at
> a single point on a page and don't have a good holistic view of it. It is
> very difficult to build and maintain a mental model of the tree as it
> changes. Furthermore, the only relevant semantic structure is a nested list,
> and this is usually quite incomprehensible to a screen reader user because
> there is far too much information to remember.
> For instance they know where an 'expand' node is but they don't know how
> much content has been revealed when the node is expanded. They only know
> where the start of it is.
> If it is only one level of nesting, they may well be able to cope, but we
> have seen menus with more than ten levels of nesting and hundreds of nodes,
> and this is quite impossible to navigate sensibly.
> The worst examples are where only one node can be open at a time, so opening
> a new one automatically closes the last one. Screen reader users are totally
> unaware that this has happened so they cannot find menu items they found
> before.

Thanks Steve, that helps me understand the issues much more. i
appreciate it.

Donna Jones
Portland, Maine
207 772 0266