Jeffrey Zeldman writes up a very worthwhile read on the recent hot topic of CSS backgrounds. He appropriately attributes the original technique to Todd Fahrner, (from whom we’ve all drawn a lot of inspiration and practical problem-solving) and dubs it the Fahrner Image Replacement (FIR). In addition to providing several more benefits of the technique, Jeffrey also gives us a hint or two of future intentions with his ongoing redesign of zeldman.com.
However, our woes with the treatment of this technique in screen readers could be all for naught. Conflicting information is surfacing in how JAWS “reads” text styled with
display:none. Elaine Nelson wrote in to point out a thread she started on the WebAIM mailing list about the “readability” of text she had hidden using a very similar technique in her navigation example (inspired nonetheless by the beautiful work over at cinnamon.nl). As can be seen in the archived thread, a list member with JAWS 4.5 responded with a very clear indication that all of Elaine’s text was read aloud as intended, even though the text was hidden and replaced with the same FIR technique we’ve been discussing.
Hmm. Very interesting. Another plea goes out to anyone with a screen reader installed (including Jaws, IBM Home Page Reader, or WindowEyes) to test the examples mentioned yesterday. Stay tuned for more information.