W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2001

RE: Skipping navigation tactics

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2001 17:06:11 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Cc: "Frank Gaine" <fgaine@frontend.ie>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 04:45 PM 4/9/2001 , Jim Thatcher wrote:
>You say that skip navigation links are <quote> more of a convenience issue
>rather than a barrier to access. <endquote> I suggest you get the trial of
>home page reader (www.ibm.com/able/hpr) and try listening to say, CNN.com,
>without using their skip navigation link.

Here's a physical-world analogy.  I went to park today at my
homeowner's association clubhouse, to check if the pool is now
heated.  (It's rainy and wet so not swimming weather at all, but
I wanted to see if they'd turned on the heaters yet.)  Nobody
was there, so the parking lot was empty.

I wanted to take the best parking place available, but they were
all lined with blue lines -- handicapped.  So I had to walk a
little further.  This got me thinking.

The "disabled" parking places are there, right by the entrance
to the building.  This is good and right.  If they were across
a busy parking lot -- say, on the far side of a shopping center's
large parking area -- then you'd have a problem.  They would
_exist_ and people could _use them_, but they couldn't be used
_well_ and this would make it very difficult for some people.

The web analogy is site which are "accessible" but not "usable"
by people with disabilities.  In other words, a site like even
the Idyll Mountain Internet web site (http://www.idyllmtn.com/)
or my own personal web site.  All of the markup required for
access is _there_ -- you can navigate the site by keyboard or
voice, for example -- but you still have to page through a heck
of a lot of links in order to get to what you want to get to.

This is the same as if we had disabled parking places on the far
side of lot -- sure, it's _there_, but can you use it easily?

This is why compromise solutions such as "skip links" and long-term
solutions such as Edapta (er..."Reef EveryWare" I am paid to say)
are necessary, in order to strive for the highest usability 
possible.  If you don't do that, you've just made it "accessible"
but you've trapped your users across the "virtual parking lot"
and it's a pain in the ass for them to get into the building.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Monday, 9 April 2001 20:08:16 UTC

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