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RE: Example of multiple skip links

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 17:11:10 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A03317DCE@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Joe Clark" <joeclark@joeclark.org>, "Jim Thatcher" <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Cc: "WAI-GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

I want to respond both to the content of Joe's message (which I'll do below) and to Chris Ridpath's message about the possibility that top-posting is a violation of Guideline 3.1.

If the exchange below is supposed to be evidence against top-posting, I'm not convinced. There is no indication of the identity of the person Joe Clark is responding to and no indication (other than the subject line of the message itself) of context. Listening to this with a screen reader, I found myself repeatedly going back and forth in an effort to tell where one person's remarks ended and someone else's began.  
Having said that, I'll now say that it doesn't seem to me that top-posting is inherently problematic, from an accessibility standpoint or otherwise. Nor is call-and-response of the type in this message inherently problematic.  Top-posting is problematic when the top-poster doesn't take the trouble to put his or her remarks in context.  The same is true for call-and-response.

The text of Joe's message about skip links appears below, as included by my email client when I hit "Reply." (Note that choosing "Respond" from the mail archive's rendering of the page yields different behavior by default.)  My response to what I think is one of Joe's responses to his unnamed interlocutor is included below.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Joe Clark
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 4:51 pm
To: Jim Thatcher
Cc: 'WAI-GL'
Subject: RE: Example of multiple skip links

> Well I admit I didn't know that. There!


> NO, it has absolutely nothing to do with access keys. Is it a question 
> of user agent handling? Sure. But I have been arguing for a couple of 
> years (and I explained to you in Austin a year and a half ago)[,]

after which point I repeatedly asked for examples,

> that there are
> critical problems with in-page links used from the keyboard in the 
> browser that most people use. They are critical problems in the sense 
> that in-page links often just do not work from the keyboard.

I just have trouble understanding why your definition of "work" involves 
hitting Enter and so on.
To whomever said this, I reply: the concern with hitting enter is that people who navigate via the keyboard must hit the Enter key in order to activate a link. When you do that for an in-page link in IE 5 or 6, focus does not necessarily travel to the named anchor that is the target of the link-- unless the developer used one of the techniques Jim Thatcher described in his document. This means that, if, after pressing enter to follow the link, your next keystroke is a down arrow, you won't hear the content you expected to hear-- the content immediately folowing the named anchor. Instead, you'll hear the element immediately following the skip link.  (There are actually two bugs at work here. One is a Microsoft bug-- focus doesn't follow the link properly. The other is a JAWS bug: JAWS doesn't start reading from the named anchor to which the skip link pointed.  This *may* be bcause JAWS is still with the focus and the focus hasn't moved; I'm not sure.) At any rate, the effect of this behavior is confusion and frustration.

> Are you going to dismiss the
> problem because these links should work? Or maybe that they work in 
> the browser that you use?

Possibly and no.


    Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
    Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
    Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Friday, 25 June 2004 18:11:11 UTC

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