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In our application we have a lot of lists falling under a single label. Visually we display these with the label left justified and the data starting just to the left of the label and then each item after the first placed on a new line. For example,

Label: Data 1
       Data 2
       Data 3
       Data 4
       Data 5
       Data 6

We have had the screen reader so that when we tab to the item it selects the entire field with all the data and reads out the label first and then the entire list of data back to back. There has been some questions as to what the industry standard is and we have come up with three options.

  • Keep the interactivity as it is. Entire textblock is focused on and all text reads once.
  • The user can tab into each line of the data and each line reads out both the label and the data.
  • The user can tab into each line of the data and each line reads out the data but not the label.

One person on the team leans towards the first or third saying it would be annoying for the label to be read over and over, another person lean towards the first or second because they feel it would be too easy to get lost and not know what the label is for the list you are on.

Is there a best practices approach to deciding what to implement, or another better solution we are not thinking of?

  • Is it interesting for the user to see all the data? to see all the data at once> – Dimitra Miha Jun 7 '17 at 14:47
  • @DimitraMiha Well the user must be able to reach all the data (data is in the form of strings) the question is whether it should all be read out at the same time or if they should be able to tab into each piece of data on by one – kleineg Jun 7 '17 at 14:53
  • Is this for a Web app? If yes, why did you enable focussing this whole list? That’s not standard behaviour, as only things that can be interacted with should be focusable. – unor Jun 8 '17 at 12:00
  • @unor It is not a web app, it is a desktop application. And it has to be focusable to get the screen reader to read it. – kleineg Jun 8 '17 at 13:10
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You say 'another person lean towards the first or second because they feel it would be too easy to get lost and not know what the label is for the list you are on'... does there need to be so many lists? (could this confuse the user) if so I would advise to keep it as it is as as you say reading the label continually could become annoying and also if a user has to tab through then as this is not the most agile control to use, this could also have the same effect. As long as the user can repeat the last speech then they will know which label the data belongs to

  • Yes, unfortunately all of the information in the lists is important to the domain and the application is a tool meant to present all the data associated with the domain to an engineer. Thank you, I think we'll be able to not only agree with this decision but also back it up to the rest of the team. – kleineg Jun 7 '17 at 17:56
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Your current design matches the standards. Usually the screenreader needs to be able to identify that a component is a list. User should be able to hear the list name and each of the list item values. Name of the list doesn't have to precede each value.

A few references about accessibility standards and techniques

Using the listbox role https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Accessibility/ARIA/ARIA_Techniques/Using_the_listbox_role

W3.org listbox https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-practices/#Listbox

Practical Aria examples http://heydonworks.com/practical_aria_examples/

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