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Re: visibility of 'skip links'

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 22:09:18 -0400
To: jim@jimthatcher.com, "Scarlett Julian (ED)" <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <003f01c2006c$83de5810$91e03244@DAVIDPOEHLMAN>
the skip nav link has been one of the most difficult things and the most
ill used and the most inadaquate cludge I have ever seen.  My proposal
was to have 508 requirees to write the sites so as to negate the need
for one.  This could have been done and is being done quite effectively.
On sites that employ it, it often does not work, messes up tab order and
is plain useless.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Thatcher" <jim@jimthatcher.com>
To: "Scarlett Julian (ED)" <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>;
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2002 7:08 PM
Subject: RE: visibility of 'skip links'

Hi Scarlett,

I drove the inclusion of skip nav links in the 508 provisions when I was
vice chair of EITAAC (electronic and information technology
advisory committee) that proposed standards to the Access Board for 508.
was the first "formalization," even advocacy, of the idea. Skip
links are crucial for blind consumers to find the main content of a
page, a
process that is relatively easy if you can see and one that can be near
impossible if you are blind.

Since the EITAAC meetings, screen readers have improved and they do a
job of skipping over links. But a "skip to main content link" completely
removes guesswork. The skip link has nothing to do with keyboard
access - it
is for blind access. If you can see the screen you can tab (very
over a long list of links and watch the focus rectangle until it gets to
where you want. A blind user cannot do that. You have to listen as you
... and tabbing, of course, skips right over the main content.

Put the skip link on an invisible gif, as you will find it on
http://cnn.com, http://ibm.com and http://jimthatcher.com. Or make it
visible like on http://www.acb.org. Or make it the same color as
as at http://assistivetech.org. But don't use visibility: hidden
styles -
screen readers are taking that to mean that the visibility is hidden!

Accessibility Consulting
Constructing Accessible Web Sites, is now available at Amazon:
I recommend it. It's a good book!

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Scarlett Julian (ED)
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2002 2:27 AM
To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
Subject: visibility of 'skip links'

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
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
confusing them. I therefore wanted to hide it and attached a css class
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
Any comments?



Julian Scarlett
Web Design & Document Management System Officer
Education Directorate
Sheffield City Council
0114 2735612
mob 07904914976

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Received on Monday, 20 May 2002 22:09:54 UTC

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