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OnHover Events in a Touch-Screen World (was: Interactive Glossary)


From: Cliff Tyllick
Date: Jul 15, 2010 9:36AM

I know this discussion has been completed, but a related issue is how onhover events affect people using touch-screen devices. My distant and irregular observations of touch-screen technology suggest that it can be a form of assistive technology for people with certain disabilities -- maybe not most people with disabilities, but at least a few.

Of course, for the time being the touch-screen audience is primarily people with a fair amount of discretionary income. Perhaps website owners who would otherwise ignore accessibility issues will find the prospect of reaching this audience too tempting to pass up. And perhaps this area would make a good case study of the application of universal design to a widespread problem.

For an interesting discussion of onhover events and touch-screen devices, read this entry and its comments in Trent Walton's blog: http://tinyurl.com/23rx7ah

Cliff Tyllick
Usability specialist and Web development coordinator
Agency Communications Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

>>> On 7/7/2010 at 4:44 PM, in message <alpine.WNT.2.00.1007072341440.2980@penitence>, < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
To start with, what does "hover" mean for users who don't use a mouse?

Once you've defined that, then you need to address the issues of screenreaders (do you have the freedom to assume only WAI-ARIA-compliant browser/screenreader combinations?) and users who browse the web magnified.

Additionally, there is a universal design issue (which is also going to affect people with limited vision and cognitive disabilities) that trying to make web browsers behave in unexpected ways doesn't work well for anybody. Web users don't expect hovering to give them a definition, and it's bad practice (again, both from a universal design perspective and from a cognitive disability practice) to try to reinvent the way browsers work.