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Re: Semi-inert modals
From: Bryan Garaventa
Date: Mar 31, 2022 9:00PM
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Modals are important when it is necessary for the user to interact with it before they are permitted to continue interacting with the page. E.G. Session timeout dialogs, login prompts, wizards, and many others.
It is especially important to implement modals properly to ensure that the background content is hidden from screen reader users, otherwise it is possible for the user to accedentally get lost in the background content when navigating instead of interacting with the dialog as they are supposed to be doing. This is critical when dealing with license agreements and other prompts that must be acknowledged, or when navigating wizards that require a particular order to be followed when completing form data.
The issue with exposing the header and footer is not really the problem, but rather, if the user is interacting with the header or footer content, they will also have access to the background main body content as well and will not be interacting with the dialog as expected, nor will they be able to reliably identify where it is located in the page. This is always an issue when using a screen reader such as JAWS or NVDA on Windows where the Virtual Cursor or Browse Navigation allows the user to move around within a virtual representation of the page content instead of what is on the top layer as occurs with VoiceOver on iOS (when touching and not swiping.).
Principal Accessibility Architect
Level Access, Inc.
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Kian Badie
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2022 5:03 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Semi-inert modals
CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.
Very interesting and insightful. Thank you! If I may ask more, what is the motivation for pushing a dialog to be a modal? While yes, I think there is a substantial amount of content in this modal compared to a simple message or notification, it does seem like making something modal only takes away functionality for both sighted users and screenreader users. I can see a notification or message being modal so that it can ensure that it is read before closing. But in a situation where a modal is providing supplementary content, why take away functionality like header access?
I hope this isn't coming off as disagreement, I am just genuinely curious.
In fact, as a developer I would just prefer to make it modal since it seems more straightforward to implement. However, I would have to convince my client before doing that.
On Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 4:03 PM Bryan Garaventa via WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> "Do you have to make it known to screen readers that the focus order
> is changed because of the activated element? Or does the dialog role
> handle that already?"
> A dialog is simply a common widget type that non-sighted screen reader
> users are used to, so there is no need to notify users that the tab
> order has changed. When a dialog opens on the desktop and focus is set
> into it, it is expected that focus will remain in that dialog unless
> you activate a control or press Escape to close it. Any keyboard hints
> that are announced when the dialog opens are provided by the screen
> reader to assist navigation, but none of these should be hardcoded in
> the markup for the dialog, otherwise it will confuse users of
> differing device types such as mobile touch devices when they hear
> keyboard instructions that have no relevance in that environment. A
> datepicker is a complex widget type though, so it may be reasonable to
> provide some instruction when activating a help icon or some other
> mechanism. It just depends how complicated the controls are to operate it.
> If the dialog is large enough to cover the majority of the content, it
> probably would be a good idea to make this modal, especially if there
> is no specific reason for it not to be such as providing an outside
> toggle or related controls that a user would expect to retain access
> to while it is open.
> Whichever way you go, it is important to always ensure you can easily
> close the dialog from the keyboard or by activating a control for that
> purpose where a keyboard is not present. Many times I've encountered
> dialogs that assume keyboard access that could not actually be closed
> by touch on mobile devices because there was no mechanism provided for
> doing this when aria-modal was set to 'true' on a dialog role.
> Hopefully this helps a bit.
> All the best,
> Bryan Garaventa
> Principal Accessibility Architect
> Level Access, Inc.
> <EMAIL REMOVED>
> 415.624.2709 (o)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of
> Kian Badie
> Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2022 2:46 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Semi-inert modals
> CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do
> not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender
> and know the content is safe.
> Thank you both for the input! First, here (
> lem) is an example of the exact thing I am working on with the modal
> already opened if you are interested. Now that you bring up making the
> dialog fully modal, I am realizing that the dialog appears fully modal
> on mobile since there is less space. On desktop, if a user activates a
> link in the header/footer the modal will not persist and it will
> navigate to the new page. If another element is activated in the
> header (like search or opening navigation menu) it will appear over
> that modal window. While I think this makes sense at a glance, I would
> understand if this is bad accessibility practice and I would want to
> see what I could change to make things better.
> I suppose users don't need access to the header/footer while the modal
> is open. However, it does feel a bit weird to have supplementary
> content take up more space than the main content. I guess that is part
> of the reasoning for the semi-modal dialog. But I am open to
> suggesting to my client to make it fully modal on desktop too if that is the best practice to do.
> The date picker example is interesting. It traps keyboard focus
> without announcing anything. With both that and Birkir's suggestion of
> modifying the tab order of the page, I do have a question. Do you have
> to make it known to screen readers that the focus order is changed
> because of the activated element? Or does the dialog role handle that already?
> Thank you,
> Kian Badie
> On Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 12:04 PM Birkir R. Gunnarsson <
> <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> > Oh, just to clarify, there are a lot of cases for non-modal dialogs
> > as Bryan pointed out.
> > I am confused by the need for a semi-modal dialog, a dialog that
> > blocks interaction with the entire main content of the page while
> > allowing interactions with the page header and footer.
> > On 3/31/22, Bryan Garaventa via WebAIM-Forum
> > < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > > Actually there are use cases for non-modal dialogs. Here is one, a
> > > datepicker where it is still possible to interact with background
> > content.
> > > https://whatsock.com/Templates/Datepickers/Basic/index.htm
> > >
> > > From a keyboard perspective on Windows using a screen reader like
> > > JAWS or NVDA, the dialog seems modal because the user perspective
> > > is confined
> > within
> > > the dialog content. However, this is not true for touch device
> > > users
> > such as
> > > those using VoiceOver on iOS for example. In this last case, it is
> > possible
> > > to interact with the background content, which is important
> > > because the triggering element is actually a toggle that can be
> > > used to dismiss the dialog by touch.
> > >
> > > There are times when it is important to implement a non-modal
> > > dialog,
> > and in
> > > this case, adding aria-modal="true" will actually impaire the
> > accessibility
> > > of the widget by hiding the background content from iOS touch
> > > device
> > users
> > > by making the background content inaccessible. This automatically
> > > occurs without the use of aria-hidden within this environment.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Bryan Garaventa
> > > Principal Accessibility Architect
> > > Level Access, Inc.
> > > <EMAIL REMOVED>
> > > 415.624.2709 (o)
> > > www.LevelAccess.com
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On
> > > Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
> > > Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2022 10:05 AM
> > > To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> > > Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Semi-inert modals
> > >
> > > CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization.
> > > Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the
> > > sender and know
> > the
> > > content is safe.
> > >
> > >
> > > ARIA Authoring Practices is not prescriptive/normative, while it
> > > is a
> > great
> > > guideline.
> > > If we think about this from the user's perspective, which is the
> > > ultimate end goal, a user with a mouse is not able to interact
> > > with the main
> > content
> > > of the page, so we must create the same affordance to someone
> > > using
> > keyboard
> > > or a screen reader, or as close to that as possible.
> > > This means
> > > * Hiding the main content of the page from a screen reader (you
> > > can add aria-hidden="true" on the main content container, provided
> > > that the modal dialog element is not a child of the main content container).
> > > Block keyboard navigation to the main content, by setting tab key
> > > on the last focusable element in the header to either go to the
> > > footer or the semi-modal dialog, ditto shift-tab on the first
> > > focusable element in
> > the
> > > footer.
> > >
> > > Would it be possible to request a design change to make the dialog
> > > fully modal? Are there strong reasons why the user would want the
> > > dialog open while being able to navigate in the header/footer?
> > > What happens if the
> > user
> > > activates a link in either the header or the footer, does the
> > > modal go
> > away
> > > and a new page loads, or does the modal stay open obscuring the
> > > main
> > content
> > > of the new page?
> > > In either scenario I don't quite see why any user should have
> > > access to header or footer while the dialog is open.
> > >
> > >
> > > On 3/31/22, Kian Badie < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> > >> I have a modal element that does not make all outside elements inert.
> > >> The modal covers the content window, but does not cover the
> > >> header/footer elements. Therefore, mouse users are able to have
> > >> the modal open while accessing the nav menu, search, and other controls.
> > >>
> > >> The modal still makes the inner content window inert (inner
> > >> content as in everything in between the header/footer). I figured
> > >> I should still treat it as a modal (as described by
> > >> https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices-1.1/#dialog_modal),
> > >> however the aria practices state:
> > >>
> > >> "So, mark a dialog modal only when both:
> > >> - Application code prevents all users from interacting in any way
> > >> with content outside of it.
> > >> - Visual styling obscures the content outside of it."
> > >>
> > >> So treating my modal as an actual modal would break that rule.
> > >> Since it only made the inner content window inert, I leaned
> > >> towards marking it up as a modal. Mouse users would still have
> > >> access to the header/footer components and keyboard users could
> > >> still access header/footer stuff by exiting the modal. However,
> > >> it doesn't sit completely well to go against what I quoted from the aria practices.
> > >>
> > >> The alternative seems to not mark it up as a modal and manage tab
> > >> order to tab through the header, modal, and footer elements to
> > >> ignore the content underneath the "modal". But how would that be
> > >> communicated in the markup/to screen readers? That doesn't feel
> > >> right either. If I had to pick between the two options, it seems
> > >> that marking it up as a modal is the better option, but I wanted
> > >> to see if I could get any
> > second
> > >> opinions.
> > >>
> > >> Thank you,
> > >> Kian Badie
> > >> > > >> > > >> archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > >> > > >>
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > Work hard. Have fun. Make history.
> > > > > > > > archives at
> > > http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > > > > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > >
> > --
> > Work hard. Have fun. Make history.
> > > > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > >
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives