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RE: [2.4] Summary of issues for guideline 2.4- skip nav

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2004 15:03:31 +1000
Message-ID: <16697.19619.892601.351887@jdc.local>
To: Sailesh Panchang <spanchang02@yahoo.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Sailesh Panchang writes:
 > Greg writes:
 >     When talking to people who were blind – they said that a skip nav link for 4 items wasn’t worth it. it was easier to skip over them when they found
 > them.  That is why the larger number was used.
 > I suggest we talk to a bunch of screen reader users and find out when it is useful and when it is more work than the skipping.
 > Sailesh:
 > Yes exactly 4 links is just ok to scroll / tab through but more than 4 (or say 5)  begins to become  frustrating and slow things down.

This whole discussion is really a legacy HTML concern. With proper
structural markup and user agent support, it doesn't matter how many
links are in the navigational menu, it can be bypassed at will. I
would prefer that the guidelines require proper structure, so that
both content creators and user agent developers are moving toward the
same standard that will really solve the problem, instead of having
ongoing discussion about the arbitrary thresholds that should apply
when using so-called "skip links" as work-arounds that bring us no closer to a properly
engineered solution.

I am also concerned that if you set a threshold (for example 4 or 8
links) then even when structural navigation is supported, authors and
authoring tools will use the more or less arbitrary minimum in the
guidelines as a reason not to use proper structural markup for smaller
menus, creating another legacy of practice that will have to be undone
later. Of course it could be argued that navigational menus are
structural items that need to be marked up anyway under guideline 1.3,
but this subtlety will probably escape the attention of most
developers who will simply think navigation menu = skip link =
accessibility.
Received on Saturday, 4 September 2004 05:04:15 UTC

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