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Re: Placing generic navigation links

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 16:51:18 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199807152051.QAA20421@access2.digex.net>
To: paul.adelson@citicorp.com (Paul Adelson)
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
to follow up on what Paul Adelson said:

> Is there any consensus on the following, or has anyone had experience or
> done usability studies to determine which is better for accessible web
> design:
> 
> For a site that has a standard set of links on every page (e.g. Home |
> Products | Employment | Contacts), is it better for accessibility to
> have those linkes at the top of every page or at the bottom?
> 
> Does the answer change if seeing/hearing the bottom of the page will
> occasionally require scrolling the page? In other words, the user may
> get used to browsing the site without needing to scroll and then
> unknowingly come to a page where either the standard links or the
> non-standard links are not visible/screen-readable without scrolling.

This seems to be an incompletely solved problem.  There are some
things that you can get consensus on as a matter of fact and they
do not indicate a single best practice (in the current
technology) that is best for all.

Numerous pro-forma links that you have to step through to get to
the meat of the page are a serious bummer, from what the speech
users I hear from say.  The top margin of the visual frame is a
natural place for these things to be in a visual context.
Because these entries function as advertising as well as
navigation opportunities in the graphical context, moving them to
the foot and off the initial screenful is, in the GUI context, a
serious demotion.

You will notice that the page at <http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/> has
fewer top links than many W3C group home pages.  The Kent State
site is doing a good thing in moving these context links from the
head of the graphical page to the foot of the alternate page.
But we don't all have the scripts to do it twice.

One early idea was to put context links invisibly as LINK
elements, but this form has lost out in practice to the plain
visible anchor.

So far as I know, we are still looking to evolve better
conditional-placement or alternate-flow capability so that a
common source of content can be more multimode in this regard.

Al
Received on Wednesday, 15 July 1998 16:48:44 GMT

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