[Irl-dean] Creating accessible javascript

Laurence Veale laurence.veale at iqcontent.com
Wed Sep 27 10:45:55 IST 2006

Hi Piero,

we definitely have a view on that - and it's a fence sitter - it depends. It
really depends on the application.

We've audited a number of AJAX like applications and they don't perform well
in terms of accessibility.

Jez Lemon has a more indepth discussion on the very topic, check out


On 9/27/06, Piero Tintori <piero.tintori at terminalfour.com> wrote:
>  Hi,
> Following on from that, I was just wondering if anyone has a view on Ajax
> and Accessibility?
> Regards,
> Piero
> drice at nda.ie wrote:
> Tim,
> in my experience there is bad and not-so-bad Javascript.  The bad
> Javascript is used overtly for things like menus and cannot be read by
> screen readers as in the example you gave.  The not-so-bad Javascript is
> usually used in conjunction with HTML elements for example for submit
> buttons on forms.  It can be read by screen readers but if the user's
> browser does not support or has Javascript turned off you are in trouble.
>  In many of these cases Javascript is being used in the place of standard
> form functionality for some strange reason.
> Using Javascript wisely is the trick.  We provide further advice on this
> in our draft guidelines at :
> http://www.nda.bunnyfoot.co.uk/developers/dev_design_basics_tech/design_tech2.3.html
> The following is an example of a page that we developed for the Oasis
> website that uses Javascript in a form in an accessible way:
> http://www.oasis.gov.ie/service_finder/
> The form provides a query interface to a database of public service
> locations (everything from schools to garda stations).  The three form
> fields are 'category', 'county' and 'town'.  the second and third drop-down
> menus use Javascript - once a county is selected the third menu is populated
> with towns in that county.  The nice thing about this implementation is that
> it works well with screen readers but also when Javascript is disabled.
>  When Javascript is disabled the form still works - you just don't get the
> 'town' drop-down menu.  On submit the server knows to provide the list of
> towns for that county to the user- hence adding an extra step in the
> process.  Ultimately the user goes through one more step if Javascipt is not
> enabled but still get the exact same info.
> Hope this helps,
> Dónal Rice
>   *"Tim Culhane" <tim.culhane at criticalpath.net><tim.culhane at criticalpath.net>
> *
> Sent by: irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie
> 27/09/2006 08:39   Please respond to
> irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
>     To
>  <irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie> <irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie>   cc
>   Subject
>  [Irl-dean] Creating accessible javascript
> Hi guys,
> My company is currently developing  web based applications which rely
> heavily on javascript.
> Unfortunately  at present  the javascript does not seem very accessible
> to
> me.
> For example,     menus  and forms created in javascript  are not visible
> to
> Jaws when I view the web pages.
> Can anybody suggest resources which describe how accessible javascript can
> be developed in such a way that it  is equally usable   by  disabled and
> non-disabled people?
> I found a good resource at the below url, but was wondering if people on
> the
> list had other  suggestions?
> http://www.webaim.org/techniques/javascript/
> Thanks,
> Tim
> -------------------------
> Tim Culhane,
> Critical Path Ireland,
> 42-47 Lower Mount Street,
> Dublin 2.
> Direct line: 353-1-2415107
> phone: 353-1-2415000
> Tim.culhane at criticalpath.net
> http://www.criticalpath.net
> Critical Path
> a global leader in digital communications
> ------------------------
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Laurence Veale
Senior Analyst
iQ Content Ltd
Usability | Accessibility | Training | Search

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