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Using Heading to Replace Skip Links

From: Vivienne CONWAY <v.conway@ecu.edu.au>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2012 08:34:48 +0800
To: W3C WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8AFA77741B11DB47B24131F1E38227A9BDEE730C21@XCHG-MS1.ads.ecu.edu.au>
Hi all

I've been having some discussions with people as to whether using Headings as per H69 can replace the use of skip links for Bypass Blocks (SC 2.4.1.).

I would appreciate your consideration of this interpretation:

"Headings can only replace skip links for screen reader users - they don't benefit sighted keyboard-only users (e.g. Prof Hawking) and low vision users using screen magnifiers, for whom skip links work much better (because they don't have shortcut keys to navigate headings).

Although H69 mentions Opera supports navigation by headings - it's turned off by default and requires a hidden option to turn back on


Techniques and Failures for Success Criterion 2.4.1 - Bypass Blocks

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. The techniques listed only satisfy the Success Criterion if all of the WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements have been met.

Conformance Requirements

4. Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies: Only accessibility-supported ways of using technologies are relied upon to satisfy the success criteria. Any information or functionality that is provided in a way that is not accessibility supported is also available in a way that is accessibility supported. (See Understanding accessibility support.)


accessibility supported

The way that the Web content technology is used must be supported by users' assistive technology (AT)

Taken together, my interpretation is you canít use headings alone to claim conformance with 2.4.1 since they bypass blocks in screen readers but not other assistive technology (e.g. screen magnifiers, switches, voice recognition etc.). It looks the conformance requirements are designed to provide a safety net for cases like this."


Vivienne L. Conway, B.IT(Hons), MACS CT
PhD Candidate & Sessional Lecturer, Edith Cowan University, Perth, W.A.
Director, Web Key IT Pty Ltd.
Mob: 0415 383 673

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Received on Wednesday, 9 May 2012 00:35:27 UTC

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