2.21 Ensure that scripts and applets are accessible
WAI checkpoint 8.1
Full WAI text: "Make programmatic elements such as scripts and applets directly accessible or compatible with assistive technologies [Priority 1 if functionality is important and not presented elsewhere, otherwise Priority 2]."
Scripts and applets are types of programmatic objects. These are pieces of functionality written in languages other than HTML, to provide dynamic or interactive behaviour ranging from simple visual effects to mini applications.
Programmatic elements should either be inherently accessible or should include features that ensure they are usable with assistive technologies.
Assistive technologies enable users to provide inputs and perceive outputs where they can't do so using technologies like the mouse, keyboard or monitor screen. For example, blind users may use a screen reader, which is a program that interprets the text contents of the screen and outputs this either to a speech synthesiser or a Braille display. Users with low vision may use a screen magnifier program to enlarge a selected portion of the screen. People with motor impairments may require a special keyboard or a pointing device controlled by a joystick or by head movements.
Ideally programmatic elements should be directly accessible so the widest audience can use them without having to resort to assistive technologies. This is not always possible, as many browsers or operating systems do not include adequate accessibility features. In this case, accessibility features which are provided in programming technologies and supported by assistive technologies should be included in programmatic elements.
Direct accessibility is desirable in situations where the user wants to access a service or information delivered through HTML pages but can't use their assistive devices or technologies because it is not practical or feasible. For example, using a screen reader to interact with a kiosk in a public place. This would be impossible because screen readers are typically installed on the user's PC and configured it to suit their needs.
Directions and Techniques
Write directly accessible applets
See WAI recommended techniques for writing directly accessible applets
If you use Java to create applets, consult the Java Look and Feel Guidelines from Sun Microsystems
Java has inherent accessibility features. Ensure that you have provided for input device independence using them. Refer to Sun's guidelines on accessibility features provided in Java for details on using them.
How you could check for this:
Test programmatic elements with assistive technologies
Testing with assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, special pointing devices will show whether they are directly accessible or compatible with assistive technologies. You should consider testing with real users and if you do this, be sure to follow a structured user test methodology.
Test programmatic elements with keyboard only navigation
Try to operate it using only the keyboard. If some functionality cannot be reached or properly controlled, then it is not accessible.