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how to best indicate facets to screenreader users?

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From: deborah.kaplan@suberic.net
Date: Jan 25, 2012 9:48AM


what's the best way to indicate navigation facets to screenreader
users? Sighted users have come to understand what facets are by
their location on the page, and their formatting. What are the
appropriate indicators to people who are using screen readers?

I understand that there is WAI-ARIA which you could use to
indicate that they are navigation, for example, but facets have a
very particular kind of navigation use, which is specifically
narrowing down the results of a search. Is it enough to put a
screenreader-only header above the facets section labeled
"facets" or some such? I feel troubled about this solution,
because for all that sighted users have come to understand what
those choices down the left-hand navigation are when they are
browsing Amazon or target or Best Buy, I can't imagine the most
people know that they are called "facets" unless they work in web
design, librarianship, or some other information-related field.

-deborah