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Re: Placing generic navigation links

From: Jamal Mazrui <empower@smart.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 11:45:48 -0600
Message-Id: <199807171545.LAA03427@gemini.smart.net>
To: <paul.adelson@citicorp.com>
CC: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
In my opinion, general navigational links at the top of each web page of
a site have become one of the most significant usability barriers to
browsing the web.  I have not found any reliable technique with a screen
reader to skip such links and get to the unique content of a page.  Thus
tedious and time-consuming navigation past those links is necessary to
determine whether a page is of particular interest to me.

I prefer that pages other than those intended as a table of contents do
not include general site-navigation links.  If enough sighted users
depend on such links for their usability, however, I prefer that the
links be placed either at the bottom of the page or in a separate frame.

The best compromise I've encountered, however, is on the web site of the
American Council of the Blind (http://www.acb.org).  Site navigation
links are at the top of each page, but the very first link allows one to
skip such links and go to the unique content of the page.  I suggest 
this approach as a W3C accessibility/usability guideline.


On 1998-07-15 paul.adelson@citicorp.com said:
   NIs there any consensus on the following, or has anyone had
   Nexperience or done usability studies to determine which is better
   Nfor accessible web design:
   NFor a site that has a standard set of links on every page (e.g.
   NHome | Products | Employment | Contacts), is it better for
   Naccessibility to have those linkes at the top of every page or at
   Nthe bottom?
   NDoes the answer change if seeing/hearing the bottom of the page will
   Noccasionally require scrolling the page? In other words, the user
   Nmay get used to browsing the site without needing to scroll and then
   Nunknowingly come to a page where either the standard links or the
   Nnon-standard links are not visible/screen-readable without
   N-- Paul

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