Beware Smushed Off-Screen Accessible Text

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

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J. Renée Beach:

Over a few sessions, Matt mentioned that the string of text “Show more reactions” was being smushed together and read as “Showmorereactions”.

Turns out a popular technique for hiding content visually (but not hiding it for assistive technology) involved setting width: 1px; which was forcing words to wrap one-word-per-line with “line feed” breaks, which the AT didn’t treat the same as spaces.

Facebook had to update their accessible hiding class to include white-space: nowrap; to fix that. Gaël Poupard suggests replacing the deprecated clip value with the newer clip, except for the fallback.

.accessible_elem {
  clip: rect(1px 1px 1px 1px); /* IE 6/7 */
  clip: inset(50%); /* fix */
  height: 1px;
  overflow: hidden;
  position: absolute;
  white-space: nowrap; /* fix */
  width: 1px;

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