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Thread: Are pop-up menus accessible?


Number of posts in this thread: 2 (In chronological order)

From: Crystal Allen
Date: Wed, Apr 05 2000 3:50PM
Subject: Are pop-up menus accessible?
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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

From: Daren
Date: Thu, Apr 06 2000 11:30PM
Subject: Re: Are pop-up menus accessible?
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My own preference is to make the navigation as simple and consistent as
possible. Multiple navigation schemes tend to take up a lot of space and
distract from the content of the individual web pages. The more I work
with web pages, the more I like the minimalist approach--give the users
simple interfaces that encourage specific interactions. My favorite
example of a good navigation scheme is the top navigation bar at
Apple.com. It certainly could be improved upon in several ways, but it
is simple, consistent, and doesn't overload the user with a myriad of
navigational choices. Notice that the main tabs are limited to 7
options, while the submenus under each tab rarely include more than 9
options. This stays within the 7 +/-2 rule suggested by memory
research. While pop-up menus are great for working with computer
programs (they sure beat typing in the old Dos commands!), their use as
a web navigation tool leaves much to be desired. There is too much hide
and seek in order for new users to find what they need. The menus also
can cover up page content that you might want to see in order to make a
selection decision. In addition, experienced users don't want to have to
click through multiple menu levels to get to the information they use
the most often. Consequently, the best navigation scheme allows people
to have simple, quick access to whatever gets used the most. Simple,
single navigation menus may not be sexy, but I think they're the best.