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Re: Skip Navigation was RE: Access key questions

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 08:24:12 -0500
Message-ID: <001c01c41591$21bfb6b0$6401a8c0@handsontech>
To: "Andrew Kirkpatrick" <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>, <sdale@stevendale.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Andrew, your final statement is quite true and even to the extent that they 
are not willing to style appropriately so even if you have the best of user 
agents, authors still need to do some work which they are reticent to do. 
Links that provide for movement through a hypertext document are backward 
compatible and a clean simple way to provide structure in documents on the 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew Kirkpatrick" <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>
To: <sdale@stevendale.com>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 28, 2004 11:30 PM
Subject: Re: Skip Navigation was RE: Access key questions

> This is not a because of a poor user agent or lack of a good
> specification.

Per specifications, HTML/XHTML can be designed to be highly semantic.  A
good user agent can take advantage of this information and allow the
user greater possibilities than a developer can, even if so inclined.

Skip links are, in my opinion, presentational, and ideally would be
unnecessary.  Given the state of support for header navigation, skips
links can still be useful.

> "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.

I agree that this is a desireable way to read a doument, but better user
agents would allow this without skip links.

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

Opera is the main browser that allows this from the keyboard today
(Amaya?), without scripting.  I'm not sure about handheld browsers, but
I'd be willing to bet that this is more common a feature on small devices.

> 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.
Ideally, users or people who are in a position to help should try
different solutions.  Hopefully they will work -- a good user agent
would be a lot easier than dealing with sites with no skip links. If you
consider the number of designers that are not willing to put in a single
visible skip link, let alone several, I have a difficult time believing
that skip links are the solution you hope they are.

Received on Monday, 29 March 2004 08:25:17 UTC

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