JAWS Screen Reader Reads Hidden Span in Internet Explorer

5 years ago, Juicy Studio posted in the article Screen Readers and display: none that the JAWS Screen Reader reads the content of hidden span elements on a page when used with Internet Explorer.

Although a subsequent article (JAWS, Window-Eyes and display:none: Return to 2007) suggests that this issue has been resolved in JAWS version 12 when used with Internet Explorer 9.

I have not yet tested this in Internet Explorer 9, but I noted that there is still at least one issue when using JAWS 12 with Internet Explorer 8: the title attribute of a hidden span element is read aloud. For example, take the following HTML:

<p>Paragraph element. You should hear this text.</p>
<p>Paragraph element. You should hear this text. <span style=”display:none”>Hidden span element. You should not hear this text.</span></p>
<p>Paragraph element. You should hear this text. <span title=”Title attribute of hidden span element. You should not hear this text.” style=”display:none”></span></p>

I expected to hear exactly what is displayed on-screen:

  • Paragraph element. You should hear this text.
  • Paragraph element. You should hear this text.
  • Paragraph element. You should hear this text.

Instead, I hear:

  • Paragraph element. You should hear this text.
  • Paragraph element. You should hear this text.
  • Paragraph element. You should hear this text. Title attribute of hidden span element. You should not hear this text.

I don’t know for certain that this is unexpected behavior, although I know that I personally expected different behavior.

One thought on “JAWS Screen Reader Reads Hidden Span in Internet Explorer”

  1. you should use

    aria-hidden=”true”

    in the span to make it invisible for screen readers…

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