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Brackets inside or outside A

From: Kjetil Kjernsmo <kjetil.kjernsmo@astro.uio.no>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 15:30:50 +0100 (MET)
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.05.9902031358220.11999-100000@procyon>
Dear all!

Once upon a time I remember Bobby complaining loudly when two links did
not have a character between them. I just noted that it doesn't do that

I had a brief look at the guidelines (I read them a long time ago, I
guess a lot has changed since then, I haven't been subscribed to the
list since, so I apologize if I'm not quite up to date), and saw that
[Checkpoint A.13.3] says "Include non-link, printable characters". I also
noted that it encourages the use of brackets to help screen readers
separate links. I must admit I never liked the looks of those brackets and
vertical bars (and how would a screen reader say [ Previous | Next ]
without sounding stupid?), so I was hesistant to use them. However, as I
describe below, when I came to realize it was a good thing to do, I
figured, it must be much better to use the brackets and vertical bars
outside the A-elements so that both purposes are served? (OK, it is
maybe just the one purpose, to separate links). I can't see any good
reason why the brackets should be inside the A-elements instead of
outside (it is a bit curious that Checkpoint A.1.4 doesn't follow
Checkpoint A.13.3 just below). When I searched the archives, I didn't find
any exhaustive discussion on this subject, just a few messages on the CSS1
test suite where it was said that it would be better to have them outside,
which is my point. 

I thought I'd say a few words about what I did on new pages I design:
With Bobbys complaint in mind, I tried to figure out how separating links
could be done the best, and I eventually realized brackets and pipes would
be it. However, since I do not like their looks, I figured I could hide
them with a stylesheet, and instead get some space between them. I ended
up with the following code for a few pages of mine (actually, I have a
few more things, but not important right now):
<DIV class="nav" id="navtop"> 
    <SPAN class="separator"> [ </SPAN>
    <A rev=home href="/english/">Homepage</A>
    <SPAN class="separator"> | </SPAN> 
    <A rev=up href="/english/classification/">Up</A>
    <SPAN class="separator"> ] </SPAN>
Truly an awful lot of code, but I think it works very well. This would
prevent screen readers to read the links as a single link, and visually, 
one get a little vertical bar between the links. In the future,
an aural stylesheet may pause rather than read "vertical bar" to separate
the links. 

Friendly Tiddely-pom,

Kjetil Kjernsmo
Graduate astronomy-student                    Problems worthy of attack
University of Oslo, Norway            Prove their worth by hitting back
E-mail: kjetikj@astro.uio.no                                - Piet Hein
Homepage <URL:http://www.astro.uio.no/~kjetikj/>
Received on Wednesday, 3 February 1999 09:31:11 UTC

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