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Re: Skip Navigation was RE: Access key questions

From: Steven Dale <sdale@stevendale.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004 22:24:27 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <3250.68.232.129.117.1080530667.squirrel@www.stevendale.com>
To: <charles@sidar.org>
Cc: <jim@jimthatcher.com>, <sdale@stevendale.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <SLovejoy@csu.org>

Charles McCathieNevile said:
>
> On 29 Mar 2004, at 02:09, Jim Thatcher wrote:
>
>> The solution for what Steve suggests should be "headings" markup and
>> thus
>> headings navigation.
>
> Right
>
Not quite right. (but getting there.. See next paragraph )

>> It is a solution for screen reader users today, but as
>> far as I know there is no keyboard value for headings yet.
>
> You can't do it with IE out of the box, but keyboard-friendly browsers
> like Opera have had headings navigation for almost a decade, and one of
> the common script-based add-ons to Explorer and Mozilla (lots of people
> produce these, including Jon Gunderson's group at uiuc, Jim Ley, and
> more recently NILS) for accessibility is indeed keyboard-based headings
> navigation.
>
And if javascript is turned off? As many using AT do to avoid
complications.  Anchor tags with "well thought out skipping" works for all
browsers "out of the box".

>> I worry at the
>> suggestion of several skip links - it could end up like my favorite
>> example
>> of how not to do skip links
>> (http://www.jimthatcher.com/whatnot2004/CSUN-WN-8.5.htm) where over
>> half the
>> words on the page were skip link words.
>
> I think this demonstrates precisely why the skip links thing is a bit
> of a hack designed to get around the fact that most user agents never
> got the hang of grouping links and passing over them - something that
> was readily available in HTML in the mid-90s (and was implemented in
> early browsers like Lynx). I agree with Jim that having a page which
> grows an extra 15 links which all say "skip this" or something similar
> isn't a huge net win.
>
This is not a because of a poor user agent or lack of a good
specification. It is just poor understanding of proper web page layout
design. Am I wrong?  Look at the newest websites as compared to those
"state of the art" websites from 5 years ago. Skipping is only the natural
thing to do.  How do you read the news paper?  Do you honestly start at
the upper left corner and read EVERYTHING?  Of course not, first thing you
do is read the headings. Then SKIP back to the heading that interested you
most and continued reading from there.  Users of screen readers can get a
list of headings and jump to the one they want, but if you are using a
switch as input, without proper skip links, you have to read through all
of the content. There is no way to skip to the next heading.  The
javascript routines are nice, but they may conflict with other AT
applications reading from the browser and cannot be guaranteed to work at
all times.

-Steve
Received on Sunday, 28 March 2004 22:24:42 UTC

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