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Separation of adjacent links

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 13:59:32 +0000 (GMT)
To: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, Lynx developers list <lynx-dev@sig.net>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980222133016.7770B-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>

[N.B This message is going to the WAI-GL list as well as to the
Lynx developers.  Respondents might want to be selective according
to the nature of their response - just a suggestion.]

I've been thinking over some recent discussions I've been reading
on the topic of separating adjacent links, with particular relevance
to adjacent images (a technique that one often sees used by authors
in general).  Guideline 8.2 refers:

 " Place non-link, printable characters (surrounded by spaces)
  between links which occur consecutively"

This is easily done when the links are formed from text, but
when they are images, the intervening "printable characters" are
likely to be felt intrusive to ordinary graphics-mode readers.

The nearest "solution" I've seen proposed to this is to separate the
images with a one-pixel transparent GIF whose ALT text is, say, " | "
or " - ".

Authors would probably wish to make the gap go away entirely when the
images are displayed normally - but I don't know a way to do that
reliably, other than using CSS to inhibit the display of the separator
image (assuming that readers who need the separation will be using a
different style sheet or turning it off altogether). 

I hope I won't be misunderstood in what I say here, but, surely,
readers with disabilities wish to get access to all documents, not
solely to those composed by authors who are voluntarily conforming
with guidelines, or worse, those who are grudgingly conforming because
they are mandated by local legislation?  It seems to me that, as there
are benefits in having non-link punctuation displayed between adjacent
links, then browsers could offer the option to insert something
whenever necessary.

I thought immediately of Lynx in this context, as a browser that is
not only widely used by text mode users, but also aims to offer
conveniences relevant to disabilities.  The idea might also be of
interest to the authors of specialised browsers?  

I put the idea up for discussion, anyway.

Best regards
Received on Sunday, 22 February 1998 08:59:57 UTC

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