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Accessibility issues in Select2 #3744

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joedolson opened this Issue Sep 7, 2015 · 39 comments

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joedolson commented Sep 7, 2015

Hi! The WordPress accessibility team did some extensive testing of Select2 with an eye towards whether or not we could make use of it in the WordPress core. Unfortunately, we found a lot of issues that need to be addressed before it's a reasonable candidate for us. You can find the results of our user testing here: https://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/2015/09/07/accessibility-usertest-select2/

We'd love to work with you to resolve these issues - let us know what the best way for your workflow would be for us to move forward on this! Thank you!

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kevin-brown Sep 8, 2015

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Let me start off by saying thank you for doing this, you linked to a pretty thorough write-up and it will definitely be useful when fixing the accessibility issues in Select2. I left a comment in a related ticket that I think is relevant to the current state of accessibility

Accessibility is important to us, but unfortunately it's something that we find difficult to test. During the creation of 4.0.0, we closely tested Select2 with GNOME's Orca to make sure it emulated the native select box as closely as possible.

If you could possibly give us some step-by-step instructions on how to test this issue with NVDA, that would be immensely helpful.

Now, I should mention that the accessibility being "difficult to test" for us doesn't mean that "we aren't interested" or "we would rather not doing it", but instead it's more of a training issue. We would love to make Select2 fully accessible, as our goal is to be a drop-in replacement, but we have no idea how to test it which makes it difficult.

We'd love to work with you to resolve these issues - let us know what the best way for your workflow would be for us to move forward on this!

As I've said before, I am definitely interested in getting these issues resolved. The next step moving forward would be to figure out the best place to centralize this discussion. With Select2, that usually happens either on GitHub or the mailing list, though I know that Wordpress has different channels and an open ticket about integrating Select2.

The next step would be to figure out what the really obvious accessibility issues in Select2 are and possible how they can be fixed. I noticed (based on a related ticket and the writeup) that the current focused option is not being read aloud in the autocomplete, and there was a mention that it could have something to do with a missing attribute for the active option. So I'll be looking into how that issue can be fixed in the near future.

I should mention that Select2 accepts pull requests through GitHub. I have plans in the next few days to update the contributing guide to address that process.


Related tickets

/cc @okonomiyaki

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kevin-brown commented Sep 8, 2015

Let me start off by saying thank you for doing this, you linked to a pretty thorough write-up and it will definitely be useful when fixing the accessibility issues in Select2. I left a comment in a related ticket that I think is relevant to the current state of accessibility

Accessibility is important to us, but unfortunately it's something that we find difficult to test. During the creation of 4.0.0, we closely tested Select2 with GNOME's Orca to make sure it emulated the native select box as closely as possible.

If you could possibly give us some step-by-step instructions on how to test this issue with NVDA, that would be immensely helpful.

Now, I should mention that the accessibility being "difficult to test" for us doesn't mean that "we aren't interested" or "we would rather not doing it", but instead it's more of a training issue. We would love to make Select2 fully accessible, as our goal is to be a drop-in replacement, but we have no idea how to test it which makes it difficult.

We'd love to work with you to resolve these issues - let us know what the best way for your workflow would be for us to move forward on this!

As I've said before, I am definitely interested in getting these issues resolved. The next step moving forward would be to figure out the best place to centralize this discussion. With Select2, that usually happens either on GitHub or the mailing list, though I know that Wordpress has different channels and an open ticket about integrating Select2.

The next step would be to figure out what the really obvious accessibility issues in Select2 are and possible how they can be fixed. I noticed (based on a related ticket and the writeup) that the current focused option is not being read aloud in the autocomplete, and there was a mention that it could have something to do with a missing attribute for the active option. So I'll be looking into how that issue can be fixed in the near future.

I should mention that Select2 accepts pull requests through GitHub. I have plans in the next few days to update the contributing guide to address that process.


Related tickets

/cc @okonomiyaki

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Thanks for this @joedolson Select2 has a lot of fans in the Drupal world too and we'd love to see it in Core. https://www.drupal.org/node/2346973

Thanks for publishing your results!

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mgifford commented Sep 8, 2015

Thanks for this @joedolson Select2 has a lot of fans in the Drupal world too and we'd love to see it in Core. https://www.drupal.org/node/2346973

Thanks for publishing your results!

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helen Sep 8, 2015

@kevin-brown Thanks for your fast and friendly response - as I mentioned last year, we'd really love to be able to incorporate Select2 into WordPress because of both the functionality and the ease of working with you as a project. We've built up a solid accessibility team with a robust test group (as seen here), great leaders, and a number of very good developers. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to contribute upstream using your preferred workflow, along with any other interested developers (would love to collaborate with Drupal here!), and we can leave the WordPress Trac ticket just for our own tracking of the general movement and what we need to do on our end for integration.

The only thing I would note is that we operate on a fairly regular rapid release schedule without much, if any, flex in the release date. We're still finalizing the release date for 4.4 (our third and last release for the year), but I imagine it'll be mid-December or slightly before. I'm not sure what your typical release cycle/process looks like, so if that's something we should talk about a bit more, please do let me know.

helen commented Sep 8, 2015

@kevin-brown Thanks for your fast and friendly response - as I mentioned last year, we'd really love to be able to incorporate Select2 into WordPress because of both the functionality and the ease of working with you as a project. We've built up a solid accessibility team with a robust test group (as seen here), great leaders, and a number of very good developers. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to contribute upstream using your preferred workflow, along with any other interested developers (would love to collaborate with Drupal here!), and we can leave the WordPress Trac ticket just for our own tracking of the general movement and what we need to do on our end for integration.

The only thing I would note is that we operate on a fairly regular rapid release schedule without much, if any, flex in the release date. We're still finalizing the release date for 4.4 (our third and last release for the year), but I imagine it'll be mid-December or slightly before. I'm not sure what your typical release cycle/process looks like, so if that's something we should talk about a bit more, please do let me know.

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joedolson Sep 8, 2015

Thanks for your reply, @kevin-brown!

First, from a workflow perspective, we're happy to make pull requests, but we also feel that providing advice and support to help people more intimately familiar with the codebase make the needed changes might be more efficient - it's fairly safe to assume that you know the Select2 code much better than we do! A mix of issues, advice, and PRs might be the way to go. We can feel this out as we go along, I imagine.

Second, testing in a screen reader. It's not as hard as it might seem, at least at a non-expert level. NVDA is a free, open-source screen reader, so you can download and install it at any time. There's a great article from WebAIM about using NVDA to do accessibility testing, which gives an introduction to the most important navigation shortcuts and commands and how they work.

http://webaim.org/articles/nvda/

There's also an equivalent article for VoiceOver on Mac: http://webaim.org/articles/voiceover/

Since a license for Jaws is quite expensive, we'll have our expert testers do testing in that environment.

One of the things that we can definitely provide is our testing community - we're happy to take iterations of Select2 and have our testers try them out and see how they work.

Thank you!

joedolson commented Sep 8, 2015

Thanks for your reply, @kevin-brown!

First, from a workflow perspective, we're happy to make pull requests, but we also feel that providing advice and support to help people more intimately familiar with the codebase make the needed changes might be more efficient - it's fairly safe to assume that you know the Select2 code much better than we do! A mix of issues, advice, and PRs might be the way to go. We can feel this out as we go along, I imagine.

Second, testing in a screen reader. It's not as hard as it might seem, at least at a non-expert level. NVDA is a free, open-source screen reader, so you can download and install it at any time. There's a great article from WebAIM about using NVDA to do accessibility testing, which gives an introduction to the most important navigation shortcuts and commands and how they work.

http://webaim.org/articles/nvda/

There's also an equivalent article for VoiceOver on Mac: http://webaim.org/articles/voiceover/

Since a license for Jaws is quite expensive, we'll have our expert testers do testing in that environment.

One of the things that we can definitely provide is our testing community - we're happy to take iterations of Select2 and have our testers try them out and see how they work.

Thank you!

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mgifford Sep 8, 2015

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Those are definitely good links from @joedolson but there's a lot that can be done before getting to screen reader testing.

It would be useful to start with the example page posted here:
https://select2.github.io/examples.html

The Wave Toolbar highlights a bunch of issues that can be tackled:
http://wave.webaim.org/report#/https%3A%2F%2Fselect2.github.io%2Fexamples.html

Tenon.io highlights a few more:
http://tenon.io/testNow.php?url=https://select2.github.io/examples.html

This is just an easier start than learning how to use a screen reader. But if you clear out the low hanging fruit and those issues which are already identified by the WP evaluation you'll be much further ahead. If the example page is cleaned up, you can ask for users with disabilities who actually use these Assistive Technologies to give you feedback.

I like Denis' approach when looking at NVDA testing:
http://denisboudreau.org/presentations/2015/a11yYOW/GAAD2015-nvda-a11y-testing-dboudreau-final.pdf

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mgifford commented Sep 8, 2015

Those are definitely good links from @joedolson but there's a lot that can be done before getting to screen reader testing.

It would be useful to start with the example page posted here:
https://select2.github.io/examples.html

The Wave Toolbar highlights a bunch of issues that can be tackled:
http://wave.webaim.org/report#/https%3A%2F%2Fselect2.github.io%2Fexamples.html

Tenon.io highlights a few more:
http://tenon.io/testNow.php?url=https://select2.github.io/examples.html

This is just an easier start than learning how to use a screen reader. But if you clear out the low hanging fruit and those issues which are already identified by the WP evaluation you'll be much further ahead. If the example page is cleaned up, you can ask for users with disabilities who actually use these Assistive Technologies to give you feedback.

I like Denis' approach when looking at NVDA testing:
http://denisboudreau.org/presentations/2015/a11yYOW/GAAD2015-nvda-a11y-testing-dboudreau-final.pdf

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I'm not sure what your typical release cycle/process looks like, so if that's something we should talk about a bit more, please do let me know.

Select2 currently does not have a rigid release schedule, though this is the current one I have marked down.

  • Sept. 13th - 4.0.1-rc.1
  • Sept. 20th - 4.0.1-rc.2
  • Sept. 27th - 4.0.1
  • Oct. 24th - 4.0.2-rc.1
  • Oct. 31st - 4.0.2-rc.2
  • Nov. 7th - 4.0.2

Which should put Select2 4.0.2 in the range of Wordpress 4.4, depending on when there is a code/feature freeze.

A mix of issues, advice, and PRs might be the way to go.

I definitely agree. While I enjoy PRs, as they provide quick one-time fixes, providing advice tends to have a much greater impact and will allow us to understand why changes need to be made. As they always say, "give a man a fish..."

I should also mention that we prefer smaller, more targeted tickets over broad ones as they allow us to better track the progress that is being made. This ticket will likely turn into the general tracking ticket for accessibility issues once we identify the specific changes that need to be made.

It would be useful to start with the example page posted here

The examples page is something that we're in the process of improving, so we should definitely be able to improve the accessibility there in the near future.


I do have a few more specific questions based on the review that was originally linked.

  1. What key bindings are typically used for opening or closing the dropdown?

    There were some comments about hitting the space bar to open it, but we also support alt + down (General binding). Ctrl + option + space was also mentioned as a non-functioning binding, though I'm not sure what key event that was supposed to simulate.

    The comment about using the down arrow is related to #3472, it doesn't appear to be a consistent binding from testing that has been done.

  2. What is the recommended markup for handling multiple selections?

    I was able to find plenty of resources in the past for accessible dropdowns, but next to none for dropdowns which support multiple options. As noted in the review, Select2 does a poor job of indicating what options are selected when working with multiple selections, and this is part of the reason.

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kevin-brown commented Sep 10, 2015

I'm not sure what your typical release cycle/process looks like, so if that's something we should talk about a bit more, please do let me know.

Select2 currently does not have a rigid release schedule, though this is the current one I have marked down.

  • Sept. 13th - 4.0.1-rc.1
  • Sept. 20th - 4.0.1-rc.2
  • Sept. 27th - 4.0.1
  • Oct. 24th - 4.0.2-rc.1
  • Oct. 31st - 4.0.2-rc.2
  • Nov. 7th - 4.0.2

Which should put Select2 4.0.2 in the range of Wordpress 4.4, depending on when there is a code/feature freeze.

A mix of issues, advice, and PRs might be the way to go.

I definitely agree. While I enjoy PRs, as they provide quick one-time fixes, providing advice tends to have a much greater impact and will allow us to understand why changes need to be made. As they always say, "give a man a fish..."

I should also mention that we prefer smaller, more targeted tickets over broad ones as they allow us to better track the progress that is being made. This ticket will likely turn into the general tracking ticket for accessibility issues once we identify the specific changes that need to be made.

It would be useful to start with the example page posted here

The examples page is something that we're in the process of improving, so we should definitely be able to improve the accessibility there in the near future.


I do have a few more specific questions based on the review that was originally linked.

  1. What key bindings are typically used for opening or closing the dropdown?

    There were some comments about hitting the space bar to open it, but we also support alt + down (General binding). Ctrl + option + space was also mentioned as a non-functioning binding, though I'm not sure what key event that was supposed to simulate.

    The comment about using the down arrow is related to #3472, it doesn't appear to be a consistent binding from testing that has been done.

  2. What is the recommended markup for handling multiple selections?

    I was able to find plenty of resources in the past for accessible dropdowns, but next to none for dropdowns which support multiple options. As noted in the review, Select2 does a poor job of indicating what options are selected when working with multiple selections, and this is part of the reason.

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Thanks @kevin-brown I don't have any specifics to offer to you, but there are some examples of similar tools. jQuery-UI's autocomplete has been a good example (if a bit limited).
http://jqueryui.com/autocomplete/

The Government of Canada had this example as part of their toolset (it's been well tested):
https://wet-boew.github.io/wet-boew/demos/datalist/datalist-dynamic-en.html

You're definitely going to need to use ARIA well for your more complex examples.

Start with the low hanging fruit though and let's move up to the more complex stuff.

Happy to hear that the example page is being improved.

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mgifford commented Sep 10, 2015

Thanks @kevin-brown I don't have any specifics to offer to you, but there are some examples of similar tools. jQuery-UI's autocomplete has been a good example (if a bit limited).
http://jqueryui.com/autocomplete/

The Government of Canada had this example as part of their toolset (it's been well tested):
https://wet-boew.github.io/wet-boew/demos/datalist/datalist-dynamic-en.html

You're definitely going to need to use ARIA well for your more complex examples.

Start with the low hanging fruit though and let's move up to the more complex stuff.

Happy to hear that the example page is being improved.

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rianrietveld commented Sep 11, 2015

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joedolson Sep 14, 2015

Just to follow up; we're working on figuring out what issues to raise and resources we can provide to be most useful; it's unlikely we'll hit 4.0.1, but we'd definitely like to get some fixes into 4.0.2. Thanks!

joedolson commented Sep 14, 2015

Just to follow up; we're working on figuring out what issues to raise and resources we can provide to be most useful; it's unlikely we'll hit 4.0.1, but we'd definitely like to get some fixes into 4.0.2. Thanks!

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heebj Sep 26, 2015

It would be fantastic if select2 gets more accessible. Thanks a lot for your work!

heebj commented Sep 26, 2015

It would be fantastic if select2 gets more accessible. Thanks a lot for your work!

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heebj Nov 14, 2015

Any news on the progress of this?

heebj commented Nov 14, 2015

Any news on the progress of this?

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jesconstantine Nov 14, 2015

Also hoping for a program update, here. Thanks!

jesconstantine commented Nov 14, 2015

Also hoping for a program update, here. Thanks!

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👍

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Decagon commented Nov 14, 2015

👍

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I've got a PR (which may not be completely working yet) open for #3735 and another couple of fixes which I'm trying to find time to test and submit. Not sure what the progress on any of the other issues is though ...

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binary-koan commented Nov 15, 2015

I've got a PR (which may not be completely working yet) open for #3735 and another couple of fixes which I'm trying to find time to test and submit. Not sure what the progress on any of the other issues is though ...

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afercia Jan 24, 2016

Looking just at the "Single select boxes" example. the aria-activedescendant attribute is set on the <span> with role combobox. By the way, when searching, the cursor is on the input field and browsers, as well as assistive technologies, focus on... the focused element :) Basically, aria-activedescendant should be used on the input field.
Sorry I can't do a PR, really haven't much time for this, but should be a pretty simple fix.

afercia commented Jan 24, 2016

Looking just at the "Single select boxes" example. the aria-activedescendant attribute is set on the <span> with role combobox. By the way, when searching, the cursor is on the input field and browsers, as well as assistive technologies, focus on... the focused element :) Basically, aria-activedescendant should be used on the input field.
Sorry I can't do a PR, really haven't much time for this, but should be a pretty simple fix.

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evertiro Jan 19, 2017

Dropping a note just to see if we still have eyes on this

evertiro commented Jan 19, 2017

Dropping a note just to see if we still have eyes on this

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jason-jason-h Mar 6, 2017

Just peeking in to see if there are any updates on this issue.

jason-jason-h commented Mar 6, 2017

Just peeking in to see if there are any updates on this issue.

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andreafalzetti Jun 16, 2017

What is the current status of this?

andreafalzetti commented Jun 16, 2017

What is the current status of this?

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I assume that nobody has put any time into developing this in the last year.

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mgifford commented Jun 22, 2017

I assume that nobody has put any time into developing this in the last year.

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Neurrone Jun 24, 2017

Given no replies to the 4 previous status update requests, my guess is no :(

Neurrone commented Jun 24, 2017

Given no replies to the 4 previous status update requests, my guess is no :(

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drewB Jul 12, 2017

Don't know if this considered bad form on an open source project but but my company Waggl is willing to financially support working toward WCAG Level A compliance (we can't spare staff right now). If there is anyone who knows the code base well and is interested in doing this as a contract shoot me at note at batshaw+select2@waggl.com.

drewB commented Jul 12, 2017

Don't know if this considered bad form on an open source project but but my company Waggl is willing to financially support working toward WCAG Level A compliance (we can't spare staff right now). If there is anyone who knows the code base well and is interested in doing this as a contract shoot me at note at batshaw+select2@waggl.com.

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https://github.com/woocommerce/selectwoo

We're currently working on a fork of select2 with improved accessibility. It should be ready in the near future.

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claudiulodro commented Aug 5, 2017

https://github.com/woocommerce/selectwoo

We're currently working on a fork of select2 with improved accessibility. It should be ready in the near future.

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drewB Aug 5, 2017

@claudiulodro that is great to hear. Is there a reason you are creating it as a seperate library instead of doing it as a pull request into select2?

drewB commented Aug 5, 2017

@claudiulodro that is great to hear. Is there a reason you are creating it as a seperate library instead of doing it as a pull request into select2?

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@drewB I'd do it with PRs if I thought they would get merged in, but I doubt they will. There's been no action in this repo in about 6 months and the fork contains some PRs that have been waiting to get merged here for a very long time.

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claudiulodro commented Aug 5, 2017

@drewB I'd do it with PRs if I thought they would get merged in, but I doubt they will. There's been no action in this repo in about 6 months and the fork contains some PRs that have been waiting to get merged here for a very long time.

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@claudiulodro I've been recently added as a maintainer of Select2. Can we talk?

I'm signed into WooCommerce's Slack, or we can chat on my own chat server (https://chat.userfrosting.com).

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alexweissman commented Sep 1, 2017

@claudiulodro I've been recently added as a maintainer of Select2. Can we talk?

I'm signed into WooCommerce's Slack, or we can chat on my own chat server (https://chat.userfrosting.com).

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mithryanna Sep 20, 2017

@claudiulodro @alexweissman Is there any update on the state of select2 and/or selectwoo in terms of 508c compliance? My company would love to keep using this widget but we can't as long as it isn't compliant. In the meantime I am looking for an alternative widget.

mithryanna commented Sep 20, 2017

@claudiulodro @alexweissman Is there any update on the state of select2 and/or selectwoo in terms of 508c compliance? My company would love to keep using this widget but we can't as long as it isn't compliant. In the meantime I am looking for an alternative widget.

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@mithryanna none of them are fully 508c compliant. That may be something we look into once we have all of the accessibility fully fixed.

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claudiulodro commented Sep 21, 2017

@mithryanna none of them are fully 508c compliant. That may be something we look into once we have all of the accessibility fully fixed.

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jason-jason-h commented Sep 21, 2017

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jason-jason-h commented Sep 21, 2017

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@jason-jason-h you should be able to just sign in with your Github account.

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alexweissman commented Sep 21, 2017

@jason-jason-h you should be able to just sign in with your Github account.

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jason-jason-h commented Sep 21, 2017

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@jason-jason-h I believe you're right. Looks like once screen reading is fixed we hit every bullet point in this 508c checklist. I have to fix some issues in VoiceOver then I think selectWoo should be good to go and I can contribute the improvements back to select2.

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claudiulodro commented Sep 21, 2017

@jason-jason-h I believe you're right. Looks like once screen reading is fixed we hit every bullet point in this 508c checklist. I have to fix some issues in VoiceOver then I think selectWoo should be good to go and I can contribute the improvements back to select2.

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hosseinis Jan 23, 2018

Good day @claudiulodro.
I'm curious to see if you have any estimation date when the SELECT2 fully 508 compliant package will be ready. Do you have any new status on that?

hosseinis commented Jan 23, 2018

Good day @claudiulodro.
I'm curious to see if you have any estimation date when the SELECT2 fully 508 compliant package will be ready. Do you have any new status on that?

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hosseinis Jan 25, 2018

Does anyone from development team know a rough estimate as to when this wonderful tool would be 508 compliant?

I really appropriate if I could have an answer ASAP.

hosseinis commented Jan 25, 2018

Does anyone from development team know a rough estimate as to when this wonderful tool would be 508 compliant?

I really appropriate if I could have an answer ASAP.

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The selectWoo fork looks like it meets everything in the WebAIM 508c checklist, but I'm not a lawyer so any use is at-your-own-risk.

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claudiulodro commented Jan 25, 2018

The selectWoo fork looks like it meets everything in the WebAIM 508c checklist, but I'm not a lawyer so any use is at-your-own-risk.

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hosseinis Jan 26, 2018

Thank you @claudiulodro for update. It's very helpful!

hosseinis commented Jan 26, 2018

Thank you @claudiulodro for update. It's very helpful!

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craigbrett17 Feb 3, 2018

@claudiulodro has screen reader support been fixed then? If so, I guess I need to pull down a new version. It certainly wasn't as of several versions ago.

craigbrett17 commented Feb 3, 2018

@claudiulodro has screen reader support been fixed then? If so, I guess I need to pull down a new version. It certainly wasn't as of several versions ago.

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kyleoliveiro Aug 17, 2018

@craigbrett17 From the demo on the current official site, screen reader support is still not implemented. On VoiceOver for Mac, a non-sighted user would not know which option is currently being highlighted in the Select box while navigating options via the arrow keys.

kyleoliveiro commented Aug 17, 2018

@craigbrett17 From the demo on the current official site, screen reader support is still not implemented. On VoiceOver for Mac, a non-sighted user would not know which option is currently being highlighted in the Select box while navigating options via the arrow keys.

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