I am assessing the accessibility of a site that uses search facets.
I am having difficulty finding information on how to evaluate search facets, maybe because many sites do not use them too much (Google, for example, does not).
I am making some assumptions that this site is accessible; but I have some reservations.
I am attaching a mockup which shows the tags used (I used the WAVE accessibility tool, but I am not too keen on showing the actual site, for a mixture of reasons).
Essentially, the search facets have h4 headings, with list elements underneath that have links..this seems a nice setup.
The search results, on the other hand, use a table-based layout.
The WAVE tool indicates "there is a table-based layout present". Based on reading this:
It seems a table-based layout is not necessarily inaccessible, and the fact the code does not use th tags seems to be a benefit (pseudo-HTML is below):
/* Search result starts table structure table tr td [Search result 1] */
/* Checkbox Number Cover Image/Title/Material type/Literary Form/Audience/Publisher/Other Title/Button to content/Rating/Tags/Add to Cart/
[end search result 1]
[new tr starts search result 2]
*/ Note there is a radio button where you can select the items
It seems according to the article referenced above, because it is detected as a table-based layout, a screen-reader would read it in code-order...because of that, and the order is logical, it should be okay.
I did notice that Google, Bing, Wikipedia and other search engines seems to use heading tags for search-result titles, and lists for details. Is this the ideal structure?
The other thing I observed is that the tab-order starts with facets, then goes to search-results. In my mind, it seems it would be more logical if the tab order was the search results first.
Thanks so much for any thoughts; I tried to do my homework, but want to confirm my instincts.
Questions: 1.) Should tab order be: a.) search results; b.) facets, in that order, or is it okay that the order is a.) facets b.) search results? 2.) Is it okay that the search results are using a table layout, or should they at some point be converted to the way Google does it (each search result title is a heading, and details below are list items)