Penn State’s Policy AD54 requires that search elements on web pages include the following:
- Local Site
- Penn State Web
- Penn State People
- Penn State Departments
Building a search functionality that addresses all these parameters is interesting to say the least.
To save space, I created a pull-down menu. But here’s where it gets tricky: The menu needs to be accessible to everyone.
After much adjusting and testing, I was able to create a search menu that works in all of these situations:
- On text browsers, such as Lynx
- With accessibility tools such as JAWS
- With keyboard commands only
- With mouse events only
To do this, I use an unordered list within an unordered list. The form submits both the choice and the search term to a set of Python commands, which then redirect to whatever the user has chosen. For those using systems such as Drupal or WordPress, I have successfully used PHP to accomplish the same thing.
Those who are able to use a mouse can simply click in the input box, then type a search term or make a selection.
You can see this searchbox in action at weblion.psu.edu and view the code at https://weblion.tlt.psu.edu/FogBugz/kiln/Code/WebLion-Repository/Group/AD54Elements/Files