Menus and Accessibility

  Michendi 18:06 17 Jun 2005

If you use a menu creation utility tool the code behind the menu is usually JavaScript. The problem with all the menu creation utilities that I have used/tested is that not one of them complies with the minimum requirements of the Disabilities Discrimination Act (DDA). This means that it would be technically illegal to use such a utility to create menus for any site except a personal website.

I have raised this question with the vendors and the answers that I have received have all been similar, such as the one that I quote here "...we have no intention of making the navagation bars comply with the requirements of the act...".

Well so much for abiding by the law!!!

It would be interesting to hear views from the forum as to how we - as developers - can make a site accessible and yet still enjoy the flexibilty and creativity that is inherent in many of the better menu creation utilities.

  Taran 00:17 25 Jul 2005

You can run (almost) pure CSS menue with pop-outs and multiple levels. They run far better with a dash of JavaScript thrown in though.

I've had a lot of heated debates over this last 18 months regarding the DDA and what it means to developers. Effectively, it cripples us (no pun intended) if we actually adhere to it in full.

I came to the reluctant conclusion that all we can do is try as hard as we can to produce accessible output, but if any degree of creativity is to be maintained, something has to give. There is a lot you can do with plain vanilla code and CSS, but there's a whole world of possibilities to web design and forcing all business sites to adhere to a standard that lobotomises really creative content to a large extent is causing more than its share of problems.

There's a cost hit too. Many of my clients are becoming nervous about the DDA and are testing again and again to ensure compliance. Others seem less bothered, but the DDA has certainly opened several very large cans of worms.

If anyone knows how to include all the nice bells and whistles we have been able to play with in the past and not offend someone, somewhere, please get in touch.

My own solution in the long term may even regress to a dual site approach - one for visual browsers and one for text/screen readers and similar. Go figure.


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