Published: August 21, 2012 - 02:00

Mindbreeze InSite Search Accessible

Fabasoft is in the process of optimizing the accessibility and intuitive usability of all its products for people with disabilities. But not by taking each product successively and making long-term promises. We're working on all our products in parallel.

At this point I would like to praise the hard work and agility of the Mindbreeze team. I'm happy to say that the Mindbreeze InSite Search has achieved an excellent level of usability for blind and partially sighted users.

In this post I would like to bring the Mindbreeze InSite search closer to the users of screen reader programs.


Find the search field and enter a search term

Use the functionality of your screen reader to find the entry field with the label "Search". If your screen reader has shortcuts for landmarks, you can enter the region "Search" and focus the search field by pressing the TAB key. Enter the search term here and start the search by pressing the ENTER key.

Navigate in the results list

If the search is successful, an accessible results list is displayed. The focus is initially set on the title "Search Results".

By jumping to the next title, which is carried out with the "H" key for most screen reader programs, you find the section "Search Tabs". This contains buttons for different search filters. The first filter is for "Everything", meaning that all matches are displayed without restrictions. Other filters for specific topics depend on the nature of the website. If you read in this section you find all the tabs and if your screen reader can master WAI-ARIA technology, it will also inform you which button is currently being pressed.

The results list can be found under the next heading, which simultaneously informs you of the number of hits. For example: "Search results 1-5 of about 46".

Before the search results list you find the buttons "Back" and "Next" with which you can navigate through the sections of the results list.

And lastly the most important bit: the search results. They appear as a real HTML list of links to the results found. Each link is also a heading and this enables a rapid review using your screen reader's shortcut keys.

Resume a search after an error message

If there are no results for the search term, a corresponding message is displayed in place of the list, e.g. "Search Tab Everything: No Results Found". If you have selected a different search tab, the message - which incidentally is automatically focused - is adapted accordingly, e.g. "Search Tab People: No Results Found". There can be two reasons for this:

  1. There is no matching content. If you haven't selected the tab "Everything", you could try conducting the search in this tab.
  2. You've made a typing error.

Mindbreeze often finds a similar term to the one you searched for. In this case you will be offered a link to the new search in the text that follows.

If you - for example - search for "exems" on the Johannes Kepler University website, Mindbreeze offers the following alternative: "Did you mean exams." If this suggestion matches your intention then you just need to click on the linked suggestion to start the search.

Happy Mindbreezing!