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RE: Accessibility Questions


From: Jukka Korpela
Date: May 29, 2002 10:41PM

Tarek Alaaeddin wrote:

> Is there is a way to I can make jaws ignore certail elements
> on the page, without any negative impact on the whole page.

I don't think so. You cannot even recognize the browser and associated
software reliably on your page.

Why would you do that? I can imagine various parts of a page that might be
unnecessary or even disturbing in some presentation environments, but why
would you do such things according to _browser_?

> Also I am just wondering if using:
> <button type="buton" accesskey="S" name="btnAddItem"
> onclick="alert('Save Service Request')" ><span
> style="text-decoration: underline">S</span>ave</button>
> Will have an impact on button accessibility,

It will. On browsers that do not support the <button> element, the plain
text "Save" (probably with "S" underlined) will be presented. Clicking on it
has no effect.

Besides, <button type="button" ...> (which is what you probably meant but
mistyped), just as <input type="button" ...>, which is less unreliable,
relies on client-side scripting, so extra care needs to be taken. Normally
you should generate such markup dynamically (via document.write() in
JavaScript) to avoid confusing people who have scripting disabled or
non-scripting browser, _and_ you should provide a non-JavaScript alternative
(perhaps in a <noscript> element).

> the reason I
> used that is just to specify that Save button will have S underlined.

It is frustrating that browsers do not automatically indicate accesskey
assignments, but I'm afraid we can't help users much by using underlining,
especially since attempts to do so often cause quite some problems. So
explicitly telling the assignments in plain text at the start of the page or
form is probably needed to make them useful at present.

Besides, using "S", or any letter, as an accesskey is problematic. It has
been suggested on this list that only digits should be used, and I'd agree,
except for special situations. On my IE for example, accesskey="S" masks out
the keyboards access to the Favorites menu of the browser. On other language
versions of IE, different functions are masked out. And this is a fairly
sure loss that applies to all people using keyboard access to browser menus,
out of necessity, or just because they find it more comfortable than mouse
play. Digits as accesskeys are much safer - though admittedly less mnemonic.

Some other notes on accesskeys:

Jukka Korpela, senior adviser
TIEKE Finnish Information Society Development Centre
Phone: +358 9 4763 0397 Fax: +358 9 4763 0399

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