Are "QuickLinks" dropdown lists accessible?
A growing number of websites in higher education and elsewhere use a "QuickLinks" form field, a single drop down list of links that takes the user immediately to a selected link without requiring that the user press a submit button. These form fields are not accessible. A standard HTML list box allows users to navigate up and down through the list using the arrow keys on the keyboard. People who can't use a mouse due to a visual impairment or physical disability depend on this keyboard functionality. "QuickLinks" fields automatically select the first field that a user arrows to, and activate that link. Therefore, the user is unable to scroll down any farther in the list. In fact, users can actually navigate the list using Alt+down arrow; however, few users are aware of this since it is not standard navigation for an HTML form.
The solution is to always provide a Submit button, and to avoid using onSelect or onChange events in dropdown lists. The resultant "QuickLinks" form will require one extra click or keystroke for users, but that is a small price to pay for assuring that all users have access.