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Thread: External embedded map - influence on rating
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A question to everyone who tests websites:
On contact sites in the web you often find an embedded map of an external map service. It's not always accessible and I am wondering what's the influence on the rating?
My idea: If the website owner puts an external content (map, embedded video, virtual 3D tour etc.) on his website, he is generally responsible for its accessibility.
A map cannot be 100% accessible. Color changes between streets, areas of houses, parks etc. with a contrast of 3:1 at each change is difficult to reach. As well you cannot describe a 2D area perfectly to someone not able to see. But for example at least available buttons, dialogs etc. should be keyboard-accessible and their graphic symbols need alternative text. It should be accessible as possible.
If the website owner does a lot to offer an alternative by a very detailed description of how to get there, perhaps you can see the map just like a media alternative for the text. So in some success criteria you could rate it as passed because of the text even if the map is not that accessible.
But if next to the map is just an address, the user needs the map to plan his journey. Then the map is not an alternative for the text and you have to be more strictly in rating.
Do you agree on my idea or are there different thoughts?
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Yes, that's a common and difficult situation. Maps are usually contained
in an iframe that is aria-hidden since they don't work well for screen
readers, but that doesn't mean maps shouldn't continually evolve to provide
Sometimes the iframe is not hidden but has a title to explain what it is
and that it might not work well with a screen reader. That way the user
can decide if they want to navigate the DOM of the map.
And sometimes a little of both is done. The iframe is hidden but the
container of the iframe contains hidden text (an aria-label or visually
hidden text), possibly as a landmark (section) that explains that the map
Thomas Logan has done some work with accessible maps. You can listen to
his ID24 presentation <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gB83fkfD8Y> and
read his blog <https://equalentry.com/accessible-maps-on-the-web/> about it.
If the purpose of the map is to find stores or restaurants or whatever
nearby, if the resulting search provides a table of results, you should be
ok. Whether that table is visible on the same page as the map, or a
separate link, or can be expanded (such as a disclosure widget
<https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices/#disclosure>), is sort of up to
you and the user experience designers. A table of results can be very
handy for all kinds of users so hiding it just for screen reader users is
not usually advised. (The results don't have to be a literal <table>. It
could be a list (<ul> or <ol>) or something similar. It kind of depends on
what your results look like.)
If the purpose of the map is to provide directions, you could do something
similar to google map directions. While google maps shows a blue line for
the route, there is a list of directions provided too, with step by step
I think minimally, or at least as a start, try to get the map keyboard
accessible. If the map is from a third party vendor, see if you can work
with them on keyboard accessibility. If not, perhaps investigate other
vendors or do more research on how you can creatively work accessibility
into the exist code. Thomas's blog touches on that.