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Re: visibility of 'skip links'

From: Mike Scott <mscott2@msfw.com>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 17:28:48 -0500 (CDT)
Message-ID: <3867.>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
The most inclusive compromise I've seen is:
(1) Use a text link (skip navigation, skip menu, skip to content, etc)
(2) Use script to style the text color to match the background
(3) Use the Onfocus event of the link to change the text to a contrasting 
(4) Optionally, reset the color with the Onblur event.

(See the main navigation at http://www.msfw.com/Accessibility/ for an 

With this approach, the skip link will:
(1) be read by (present) screen readers
(2) be visible to sighted keyboard-users when it is tabbed to
(3) not distract other sighted users
(4) fail over to being a visible text link if scripts aren't supported

As has been mentioned, invisible image links can't be read by sighted 
keyboard users (note that tool tips, either from alt or title, don't appear 
when a link is tabbed to, at least in Internet Explorer).

A potential drawback would be if search engines would flag this as an 
attempt to skew results by hiding words on the page. (With the color being 
set as a style from within a script, it would have to be one sophisticated 
search engine -- anyone know for sure?)


> Hi all,
> just a quickie. I have a page (several actually) with a 'skip links'
> link at the top of the main nav menu. On showing this to some sighted
> users who I would assess as having limited experience of the internet
> but make up a sizeable proportion of my target audience I became aware
> that this link was confusing them. I therefore wanted to hide it and
> attached a css class with visibility set to hidden. Does doing this
> present any problems for the people that would benefit from a 'skip
> links' link. I'm pretty sure that screen readers will pick up the
> hidden link but just wanted to make sure. Any comments?
> tia
> Julian
> Julian Scarlett
> Web Design & Document Management System Officer
> Education Directorate 
> Sheffield City Council
> 0114 2735612
> mob 07904914976
> julian.scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk 
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Received on Monday, 20 May 2002 18:29:24 UTC

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