Support » Theme: Sydney » Issues with screen reader accessibility in main menu

  • Hi,

    Loving the theme in most areas, apart from as an internet user with no vision I rely on JAWS screen reader technology and the main menu navigation is causing significant problems.

    The way the main menu navigation works, means items will “pop out” or “drop down” for a visual user accessing with a mouse or touch screen.
    For me, using keyboard navigation only, it is impossible for me to expand the menu items easily. With a lot of trial and error and someone sighted with me we figured out that a series of keystrokes to move the virtual screen positions around allowed the items to expand, but it’s really not accessible.

    When the website is displayed in a smaller window, there is absolutely no indication of there being a navigation region at all, it just disappears totally for me, only appearing again when the window size is made full screen.

    In a previous theme I used and with many accessible websites out there, there is a button that is labelled as “expand menu” or something similar, an instant indication to a screen reader user that they need to click to see the main nav.
    Each menu item would also be labelled in a screen reader friendly way to read out that each menu item had sub items that were available if the main title was activated.

    I’m in a position to be able to know there are menu items somewhere hidden, but if a screen reader user that hadn’t developed the site was visiting, they would either have a totally missing set of menu items, or a set of menu items that would have no way of getting beyond each top level item.

    This isn’t a browser specific problem, as I’ve tested in IE, Chrome, Firefox to similarly inaccessible responses.

    I understand this is a very specific issue that is only for a small amount of users, but it’s one that is meaning i’m going to have to start again from scratch with a new theme, or go back to our old one if there isn’t a way around this.

    Any input or help as to how to make the menu nav more user friendly for screen readers would be very welcome indeed.

    Many thanks,


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  • Hi,

    Thank you for your detailed feedback. Indeed, we haven’t given much importance to this aspect. I’ve added it to our list of things to do and as soon as we get to it, we’ll try to implement a more accessible menu. Can’t give you a timeframe I’m afraid.

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