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Re: Placing generic navigation links

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 20:50:50 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
There's a clean, generic way to make links available at the top of the page
while allowing a surfer to skip them easily.  Unfortunately, it doesn't
work for all browser and screen reader combinations.  It works for
pwwebspeak and the combination of lynx and any screen reader.  I don't know
what other combinations it works for.

The method is to simply use an image map and include ALT text for each AREA
in the image map, as recommended in the WAI Page Author Guidelines
(reference 1 below).  

You give the image of the image map a title like e.g. 

ALT="Site Navigation Menu."

And give ALT text for each AREA, e.g. "Home", "Search", etc.

In lynx, the ALT text for the image, viz. "Site Navigation Menu" becomes a
selectable link.  If you don't select it you are not bothered with the menu
items.  On the other hand, if you do select it (e.g. by pressing it's
number if numbers are on) you get a menu composed of the ALT texts that
were inserted for the AREA tags.  

So this way if you come to the page you are alerted that there is a nav bar
and can choose to read it or skip it at will.

But, since not all combinations of browser and screen readers support this
you still need to put the text equivalents of the image links at the bottom.

So this is a case where an image map actually helps a blind surfer.
Ironically, it it is inconvenience to a sighted surfer who has images off,
at least with current browsers, because the sighted surfer doesn't see the
ALT text for the AREAs, and has to go to the bottom of the page where the
text links are.


Leonard Kasday

reference 1
Received on Monday, 27 July 1998 20:43:32 UTC

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