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Re: Copywriting for Screenreaders (was Alt text for URL's)

From: Lloyd Rasmussen <lras@loc.gov>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 08:44:17 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I seldom use skipnav links anymore.  With Window-Eyes and IE6, I try to go 
to the first heading or to the first block which has two or more lines of 
two or more characters, then look around with the MSAA cursor.  The default 
for this "next text" command in Window-Eyes is 1 or more lines of 1 or more 
characters, but I found this to often pick up the text between nav links, 
so I changed it.  I think the default for JAWS is 1 or more lines of 25 or 
30 characters, which is probably not a bad heuristic either.  It would be 
really useful if more sites would using headings in a semantically 
meaningful way, but I'm preaching to the choir by saying it here.

I use Lynx to get a good text rendering of some kinds of web pages, but for 
table browsing and interpretation, the IE/screen reader solutions work 
much, much better.

At 04:48 AM 2/17/2005, you wrote:

>>Ok,  I'll put it succinctly.  If site navigation is so bad that it needs to
>>be skipped, how can it be improved so that it does not need to be skipped.
>Nobody is suggesting that skip links are there to deal with *bad* navigation.
>Sighted users have the ability to visually skip past site navigation and 
>straight to the content by scanning the page. However screenreader users 
>access the page in a linear fashion and can't do this (see caveat below). 
>The point of skip navigation is to give screenrreader users the ability to 
>jump directly to the content if that's what they want to do.
>Site navigation is usually made up of a number of links, all of which need 
>to be tabbed past if using the keyboard to navigate. If you're got to tab 
>past 20 link on each page before you reach the main content, this can be 
>very tedious and a bar to accessibility.
>Some screenreaders can display heading lists. Assuming the users are 
>familiar with this ability, it can allow them to jump to the main content 
>in well marked up sites. Also it is possible via CSS to have the nav come 
>last rather than first. However then people navigating via the keyboard 
>will have to tab though the who content to get to the nav bar, which on 
>link heavy pages, could be a nightmare (think a links page).
>Personally I think "skip links" are unobtrusive so I'm really not sure 
>what your problem with them is. It's kind of like complaining about 
>putting a lift in a building to increase accessibility because the stairs 
>could have been made better.
>Andy Budd

... Creating implements of mass instruction.
Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress    (202) 707-0535   <http://www.loc.gov/nls/z3986>
HOME:  <http://lras.home.sprynet.com>
The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent 
those of NLS.
Received on Thursday, 17 February 2005 13:44:51 UTC

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