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RE: Accessible popup menus


From: Jim Thatcher
Date: Jul 28, 2005 10:36PM

This is the "A Mr. Thatcher" to whom you so blithely refer. Who is this
masked man? I developed one of the first screen readers for DOS; the first
one for the GUI on a PC. I was vice chair of the Advisory Committee that
drafted proposed standards for Section 508. I worked mostly in IBM Research,
the Math department. I retired from IBM after 37 years (I did have a hard
time holding on to a job) in 2000 and have been an accessibility consultant
ever since.

Just think about menus for a minute. Look at the IE menu. Say you wanted to
get to the Help menu item. A blind user can do that with Alt+H. With your
menu system (if it was comparable, which it is not) you would have to tab
about 234 times (I made up that number, it doesn't matter) in order to get
to help.

Yes there are degrees of accessibility. I reviewed a site yesterday in which
it was IMPOSSIBLE for a person to buy ANYTHING using only the keyboard - no
mouse. But their alt text-was OK. You can make navigation easy with Headings
markup - or you can make sure you pass automated tools and let disabled
users figure out how to use your site. So it is with the menus you promote.

The fact is that being able to get to every item is not accessibility. Being
able to get to every item in a reasonable time -close to the number of steps
required by a sighted person - that is accessibility


Accessibility Consulting: http://jimthatcher.com/

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Al Sparber
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 8:14 PM
To: Webaim
Cc: pviicc
Subject: [WebAIM] Accessible popup menus

It's come to my attention that a Mr. Thatcher or some sort claims that
our menu system is not accessible. I would like to engage this person
in this forum to get to the truth, as it were. I've prepared two test
cases and would like this gentleman to explain why the menus are not


Al Sparber

"Designing with CSS is sometimes like barreling down a crumbling
mountain road at 90 miles per hour secure in the knowledge that
repairs are scheduled for next Tuesday".