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508 Checkpoint L

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From: Leo Smith
Date: Nov 14, 2001 9:12AM


Hi All,
I am presently working on a collaborative effort to produce a set of 508 tutorials/guidelines for folks in the University System where I work.
My charge is explaining and providing examples for checkpoint L, the JavaScript checkpoint, which I personally consider to be the checkpoint where most pitfalls might occur.
I have almost finished writing my contribution, but am a little confused over some of the access-boards wording with regard to this checkpoint.
Specifically:
"......When authors do not put functional text with a script, a screen reader will often read the content of the script itself in a meaningless jumble of numbers and letters. Although this jumble is text, it cannot be interpreted or used. For this reason, the provision requires that functional text, that is text that when read conveys an accurate message as to what is being displayed by the script, be provided."
Does this mean that ANY Javascript code has to have functional text explaining its purpose, even if the purpose of that code is merely "behind the scenes" stuff that does not affect the actual information delivered to the user - for instance, browser detection scripts? Is the code between the <script> tags read by a screen reader, or are they just referring to script code that appears with event handlers?
My common sense tells me that what they are saying is that when a script is used to present information on the screen to the user, such as rollovers that provide more information about the destination of a link, that such information is also provided in a text format that can be read by assistive technologies.
I would appreciate any and all input.
Thanks!
Leo.
Leo Smith
Web Designer/Developer
USM Office of Publications and Marketing
University of Southern Maine
207-780-4774

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