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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
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From:
Francois Jordaan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 26 Jan 2005 17:59:15 -0000
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Francois Jordaan <[log in to unmask]>
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I know this topic is a bit hackneyed, but bear with me.

I'm talking about <select> dropdown menus used for navigation -- to navigate
to another page.

Generally accepted wisdom:

1. A [Submit] button (usually 'Go') is necessary to ensure accessibility if
javascript is unavailable.
2. Javascript onChange behaviour is bad as it prevents keyboard-navigating
-- whether using a screen reader or not.

The latter is not quite true, however, as someone today pointed out to me.
If you tab onto the dropdown, and instead of hitting DOWN, you hit ALT-DOWN,
you can actually select any of the items in the menu as normal.

His argument was that this means its OK, accessibility-wise, to use onChange
because
a) people who rely on keyboard-navigation are likely to know the shortcut,
especially since
b) this is pretty much the default behaviour on websites -- the vast
majority lack Go buttons

...and from a usability perspective, not having to click twice (on the item
and on Go) is good for the >90% of users who are javascript-capable and use
the mouse.

If you accept this argument, is it then confusing to have a Go button as
well? That seems to be the norm on BBC sites, e.g.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/country_profiles/default.stm
(The button is still necessary if javascript is unavailable, although you
could have hidden it for javascript-capable users.)

Opinions/evidence appreciated,

francois

Wheel Group, Beaumont House, Kensington Village, Avonmore Road, London W14
8TS

T +44 (0)20 7348 1000    F +44 (0)20 7348 1111
D +44 (0)20 7348 1049
[log in to unmask]
www.wheel.co.uk



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