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Autosuggest/Autocomplete Feature


From: Patrick Burke
Date: Aug 25, 2009 2:10PM

Hi all,

Any advice on the best way to create accessible autosuggest-list
functionality? I can't find much useful info (other than a paper on
how people use such lists, & some Javascript tutorials not
referencing accessibility).

The situation is this.: There is a set of names (about 2,400), & the
group we're working with wants to have a search box to find specific
names. However, typing letters should also bring up a list of matches
that you can select from.

Yahoo (for one) has this feature. On the yahoo.com main page, typing
into the searchbox creates a list of searches starting with those
letters. DownArrow lets you read through the list (while still having
the editable text). This works as advertised in IE7 for me. In
Firefox, pressing DownArrow simply moves me down out of the text box,
so I can't edit the search string (although the suggested searches do
pop up as links *next to* the search box ). (So this problem may be
something wrong in how Jaws is handling Firefox.)

I notice that Yahoo is using Aria in their code. Is ARIA the way to
make the autosuggest feature tick? Or does it also depend on a
strategic choice/implementation of Javascript library? Is there a
simpler way to create autosuggest, or is Yahoo the gold standard?

Any helpfulness much appreciated,


Patrick J. Burke

UCLA Disabilities &
Computing Program

Phone: 310 206-6004
E-mail: burke <at> ucla. edu