A few links: CSS and accessibility

A few links to handy articles from 456 Berea Street related to CSS and accessibility: using list-style:none, using display:table, and styling buttons to look like links.

The blog 456 Berea Street by Roger Johansson is one of my favorite sites for useful information on web standards topics presented in a really clearly written and succinct way. He’s had some great articles recently related to the intersection of CSS and accessibility that I thought were worth sharing.

Screen readers, list items and list-style:none

Roger found that some screen readers won’t announce list items if list-style:none is set on the list. (They will announce the list as a whole, just not the individual list items.) This very common bit of CSS visually represses the list markers, of course, but (probably?) shouldn’t change the spoken output. Unfortunately, this falls squarely into the “good to know, but what do you want me to do about it?” camp. Just keep it in mind, and hopefully the offending screen readers will fix this behavior soon.

Using display:table has semantic effects in some screen readers

Same sort of thing, only with display:table. NVDA in Firefox as well as the ORCA screen reader incorrectly announce elements that you’ve set to display:table as actual, semantic tables. This might be an area where you do have other options than using display:table (as opposed to list-style:none, where there are no alternatives if you don’t want markers), so this screen reader quirk is a little more helpful to know. I wouldn’t consider this a deal-breaker, but if you can easily avoid it, I say why not? If you can’t really avoid it, I wouldn’t sweat it, but again, keep it in mind.

Styling button elements to look like links

This is a useful CSS snippet for when you want something to look like a link (plain text) but act like a button (initiate an action other than taking someone to a new page). Roger points out, of course, that it would be better if the design were changed so that things that act like buttons look like buttons, but this is a good option when you can’t convince those darn designers to change things! (I’m allowed to jokingly complain about designers since I am one.)

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