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Re: Accessible popup menus


From: Al Sparber
Date: Jul 28, 2005 11:37PM

From: "Don Hinshaw" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >

> One thing I am struggling with and I haven't heard a really clear
> answer to (I was hoping that Jim would reappear since it was his
> comment that started us off!) is *why* those people who consider
> Al's menus to be inaccesible feel that way. The only real specific
> comment I have heard is that they don't work so well when tabbed
> through backwards. Admittedly I am an accessibility neophyte, but
> this is the first time I have heard that issue raised.

There are various "communities" of experts in this business. CSS,
Standards, and Accessibility. It's human nature for those who are
considered pundits or gurus to focus on minor points as others would
on major points. I honestly do find sites like Thatcher's extremely
difficult to navigate - from a logics perspective. The saving grace is
that the site is so small. If his site were as large as ours, and we
chose to deploy navigation as he does, we would not be in business
very long. I'm not known in these parts, but I do have a reputation in
certain web development circles as a voice of reason. I admit I baited
this list, but I did draw attention to the debate/discussion, which
was my first objective.

With my pragmatist cap on, I can smell a zealot a mile away. A
reasonable person would approach things a bit differently. I see no
logical process to the question of "can a popup menu be accessible" to
this point. The mark of reasonable person can be measured by a ratio
of pontification to solutions. I see people here who are predisposed
to popup menus being inaccessible - in their opinions. I could solve
the entire problem in five minutes, but am totally amazed at the
approach taken here.

> As for Glenda's very reasonable complaint about being able to
> maneuver through many drop-down type menus, this seems more an issue
> of the size of the target than the technology used.

Yes. And also the size and scope of the menu. In my opinion, there are
many ways to devise a site's navigation. What many here would consider
accessible, are accessible in certain contexts - but by no means all
contexts. Many sites deploy navigation systems to draw users where
they want them to go, by exposing a minimum number of main section
links and no sub-menus. A visitor must click and load a page before
seeing further choices in that category. It's a narrow view. As one
goes the politically correct route and attempts to optimize his site
for a group of people who represent a very small group of potential
visitors, and then another small group, and others still - he risks
degrading the experience for the vast majority of his visitors.
Balance is everything. We are talking about web pages - not access to
the emergency room at your local hospital - or to the rest room in
your local restaurant. No one is going to wet his pants over a web
site's navigation system. At worst, he will simply move on. How many
will move on? That depends on the nature of the site and the
difficulties encountered.

> So, I'll ask again...Why do you consider these menus inaccessible?

I know why, but no regular here will understand :-)

The solution?

It's here and it's very simple. But to understand it, you need to be
able to extrapolate this to a real site. I don't really have time to
make a real site tonight, so this will have to do.


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".