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Re: Accessible forms based pull-downm navigation.

for

From: Christian Heilmann
Date: Sep 6, 2005 2:40PM


> #3, is maybe what I'll end up with. I'm thinking I'd put this navigation
> in a div at the bottom of the page, and then OnClick, just reposition it
> at the top. This would allow for accessibility (I'd put a 'skip to
> navigation' link between <noscript> tags).

You could also use a script to generate either a DHTML dropdown from a
select one or vice versa:
http://icant.co.uk/forreview/tamingselect/

> #4 mandate a character limit for each question. This is more of a
> copywriting issue. I like this as it'd be the easiest (for me) to
> implement, but I imagine this could add to accessibility issues as
> questions are abbreviated and shortened to the point of being harder to
> comprehend.

This is a reocurring issue in any project I work on, and I just cannot
believe that people still consider web design a silver bullet for
problems like that. It is not a technical problem - it is a content
and a UI issue. If your questions are too long to fit in a certain
space then you either rephrase the questions or you allow for more
space, that is all the magic there is to it. Either the copwriting
sucks or your design is not flexible enough, no buts about it.
If you are not talking about too many options then you can also
replace a dropdown with a radio button group, possibly cut up into
different sections via fieldset and legend.
The more we make these things technical problems and try to find
workarounds the less clients will realise that a text that is too long
to fit or to be understandable for the casual viewer is just not
accessible, no matter what we do with it technically. My latest
project had dropdowns with about 120 characters per element, I did a
quick user test with the form and sent the - disastrous - results to
the client, now they rewrite the copy.

> All that said, I'm mainly leaning towards the javascript option where I
> just create my own pulldown menu. This would preserve both the full text
> of the question as well as better layout control. Albeit at a higher
> development cost. I'd like to use an on-click event to trigger the
> question list. Is using the onClick to trigger a fly-out menu more
> problematic than the typical onMouseOver?

You can answer that yourself: Which one of the two events can be
triggered by both keyboard and mouse? That is the more accessible one.

--
Chris Heilmann
Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
Writing: http://icant.co.uk/
Binaries: http://www.onlinetools.org/