Testing Combo Box Component in Flex

This was created in Flex Builder 3, using the standard ComboBox Component.

Test Pages

Results

Keyboard access without a screen reader.

Tested with the following & works fine:

  • IE 8 and Flash Player 10.2.153
  • Firefox 3.6 and Flash Player 10.2.153

Control Down Arrow allows you to open the full menu, while Down Arrow alone takes you through the options one by one. Ideally, include information on using Control Down Arrow in your help on keyboard access and in your accessibility documentation. (This is low priority since the control can be use with just the arrow keys.)

Without the JAWS Scripts:

To use the combo boxes with JAWS 11, IE 8 and Flash Player 10.2.153:

  1. You need to arrrow to the combo box label to know what it is.
  2. Then arrow to the combo box announcement, which says "combo box" and then speaks the current selection.
  3. Then press enter to enter forms mode and hear how to interact with the combo box.

If you tab to the control, you hear nothing, just "Tab" as the keypress. Pressing enter at this point does nothing.

  1. Then you need to up arrow to hear the combo box.
  2. Then up arrow again to hear the label.
  3. Then down arrow back to the combo box.
  4. Then press enter to enter forms mode and hear how to interact with the combo box.

With the JAWS Scripts - even though this is JAWS 11 and the scripts say they are for JAWS 8-10

In my opinion, this makes the component behave worse. This is may be because the script was not designed to work with JAWS 11. You have to hit enter a couple times to get into forms mode. When you do go into forms mode, the info on how to interact with the combo box is missing.

Another difference is that you hear the label when arrowing to the combo box, but you don't hear the current selection.

Window Eyes 7.6, IE 8 and Flash Player 10.2.153

When navigating with the arrow keys, you get all of the information. The current selection is spoken first, then the type of control, then all of the options. Sometimes the control is called a combo box and sometimes it is called a list box.

However, when tabbing, you get none of the information. Tab lands silently on the control.

It is difficult to change the setting of the control. The only way I could find to change the setting while hearing the selection was to be in Browse off mode and to route both cursors (Windows and Window Eyes) to the control, then use the arrow keys. In this case, I believe by accident, the up/down arrow keys cause 2 events at once, the browser event of changing the selection and the Window Eyes event of reading the entire line. So, in this example page, you hear the first button, then the new setting for the combo box then the second button each time you press an arrow key. This is only after getting the cursors in place and setting the right mode. Getting the Windows cursor in the right place is difficult and I could not always repeat this.