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Re: Accessible Superfish-like drop-down menus?


From: Robert Fentress
Date: Jun 16, 2017 9:51AM

Thanks for the question, Tim. Comment below:

On Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM, Tim Harshbarger <tim.harshbarger.cqwg@
statefarm.com> wrote:
> Rob, I do have a question for you because I want to clarify my
> understanding of the problem. Is the complexity that is problematic due to
> trying to figure out what roles and states need to be applied and
> manipulated? Or is the complexity in writing the code that accomplishes
> that?

Well, there is complexity in knowing what the right semantics to apply are
(especially with the crazy, one-off composite custom widgets folks are
developing all over the place), but the real issue for me is the amount of
time it takes to test that whatever model you've chosen actually works as
you expect it would in a given assistive technology. JAWS handles things
differently than NVDA than VoiceOver on MacOS than VoiceOver on iOS, etc.,
etc. An example might be the way focus follows the cursor in NVDA, but not
in JAWS, depending on the mode. How these AT work affect how you track
ARIA states using JavaScript, and it is easy for things to get out of sync
or behave differently than you expected. I do not have a visual
impairment, so, though I've put in a lot of time getting familiar with
them, I likely don't use screen readers as folks who have to use them every
day do. So having to discern if a problem I encounter is due to my lack of
fluency with the AT or something I'm doing wrong code-wise is a real pain.
Then there is the issue of deciding how fluent different populations of
blind users are with their *own* AT and what interaction patterns I can
reasonably expect them to be familiar with.

P.S. I'm focusing on screen readers here, because they are the most
difficult to develop for, not because I think making things accessible
means just making them work for blind folks.

Rob Fentress
Senior Accessibility Solutions Designer
Assistive Technologies at Virginia Tech
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