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How accessible is Javascript at all?
Rewriting content of form fields
Oliver Henniges

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23 posted 7:03 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

A good idea to dedicate a separate forum to this topic. The number of contributions has grown rapidly the past few days, so if my question has been answered elsewhere please give me the relevant URL.

As I pointed out in another thread (http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum10/10919.htm [webmasterworld.com]) despite all justified criticism on client-side scripting, Javascript does have its very particular advantages. To give an example:

In addition to my php-based shop system I have a few special pages on some product-groups containing several lines of products with an input field for the requested number of items plus (at the bottom) a few input-fields for invoice- and shipping address and so on. In the background runs a javascript code which calculates the sums, taxes and traffic-fees, so that the user immediately sees how much he has to pay. Now, if a visitor is lead to this page by a search engine, he may order what he had been seeking without performing any other clicks. No need to reload the page after every change, thus very fast, very efficient, and very thankfully adopted by our customers.

My basic question is: How accessible is such a construction for disabled people, particularly visually impaired customers? How do the readers cope with changes in the content of form-fields performed by the java-script? I might provide an alternative link to the relevant WAI-conform "shadow-page" in my normal shop, but if these pages are not accessible anyway, I might do without eg. Alt-attributes in form fields at all, saving me a lot of work. So if VI-readers - as I assume - cannot handle javascript: How can I make clear "this page per se is not WAI-conform, please use the following alternative.." without the whole page not being accepted?

In the past I have considerably benefitted from the overlaps of VI-friendliness and search-engine-friendliness of my website. But I have the suspicion that this accessibility discussion might in the near future become part of google's approach "to make a better world ;)" Do you also think such unaccessible Javascript-pages are in danger to be thrown out of the index or maybe lowered in relevance?

[edited by: DrDoc at 3:44 am (utc) on Feb. 22, 2006]
[edit reason] linked to thread [/edit]

 

DrDoc

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23 posted 3:46 am on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

One important question that comes to mind is -- what happens to your page if someone visits it with JavaScript turned off?

Oliver Henniges

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23 posted 10:08 am on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes this is part of my question: I might present a link to the relevant shadow-page in the noscript-area, but would this make the whole page pass the WAI-conformity-checkers? I think 'no'?

Taffa

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23 posted 11:01 am on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

My basic question is: How accessible is such a construction for disabled people, particularly visually impaired customers? How do the readers cope with changes in the content of form-fields performed by the java-script?

Well that depends on how you have coded your JavaScript. There have been some good detailed studies done lately about what works in screen readers. Oredering must also work with JavaScript turned off.

Generally you need to learn Unobtrusive Javascript:
Ten good practices for writing JavaScript in 2005
(www.bobbyvandersluis.com/articles/goodpractices.php)

DOM Scripting Task Force
(domscripting.webstandards.org/?page_id=2)

Unobtrusive Javascript
(www.onlinetools.org/articles/unobtrusivejavascript/)

HOW your script compares to practises recommended in those articles?

[edited by: pageoneresults at 4:09 pm (utc) on Feb. 22, 2006]
[edit reason] Delinked URIs [/edit]

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23 posted 11:02 am on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

One important question that comes to mind is -- what happens to your page if someone visits it with JavaScript turned off?

DrDoc, the statistics on those who surf with JavaScript off are not totally accurate. But, it appears to have hovered between 8-12% over the last 4 years with a 10% average for the year 2005 and 10% for 2006 January.

I have to wonder just how many sites work with JavaScript turned off. I mean, I look at all the software and applications that are out today and many of them rely on JavaScript for functionality. Should a user expect to be able to check out of my JavaScript enabled store if they have JavaScript off? Could they?

Oliver Henniges

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23 posted 3:53 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Great source, thx Taffa, it'll take some time to go through it, so sorry if I won't give feedback immediately.

I also haven't yet made a final decision whether to bring more such pages to the net or not. I only wanted to know a bit more about these accessibility issues attached to it.

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