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Are pop-up menus accessible?

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From: Crystal Allen
Date: Apr 5, 2000 3:50PM


I have had a few people ask about the accessibility of the pop-up menus on the http://webaim.org site.

The pop-up menus appear when the user's mouse moves over an item in the main menu. The pop-up menu includes sub-topics for the main menu item that the mouse is resting on. The user can then click on the pop-up submenu items to follow the link.

The pop-up menus are not accessible in and of themselves because people with visual or motor disabilities or people with browsers that do not support JavaScript will not be able to use the menus.

An equivalent to the pop-up submenus is provided in the form of an accessible submenu located on each page. The submenus are specific to the main menu topic that the page fits under: for example, when a user selects the main menu item "Accessible Design" the user is taken to a page that explains accessible design and that offers a submenu with the same options that were offered under the "Accessible Design" pop-up menu.

Thus even if a user can not use the popup menus, the user has access to the main menu from every page and access to all of the submenus by selecting the main menu option and then using the submenu on the resulting page.

This is consistent with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guideline 6.5 "Ensure that dynamic content is accessible or provide an alternative presentation or page. [Priority 2] "http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/#tech-fallback-page

What do you think? Should we use this feature which provides added functionality for SOME of the users as long an alternative accessible menu is provided for the rest of the users?

Crystal Allen