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Re: Using Heading to Replace Skip Links

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2012 15:10:43 +0100
Message-ID: <4FAE6F63.1010802@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
On 12/05/2012 13:30, Ramón Corominas wrote:

> Good point. Maybe all browsers should provide a mechanism to skip to the
> main heading of a document. But skip links are not part of the content.
> They are a mechanism that web creators provide to go beyond the
> browsers' limitations. In the end, skip mechanisms should probably be in
> the User Agent field, not in the Web Content.

The problem has traditionally been that there's no standardised way to 
explicitly and unambiguously mark up "main content" of a page. There are 
heuristics that could be used, but they'll yield false positives/negatives.

HTML5 has avoided defining a <content> type element, but with all other 
new elements like <header>, <nav>, <footer> etc the idea is, apparently, 
that a user agent could treat the first bit of markup that *isn't* 
explicitly in a header/nav/footer as the actual main content. User 
agents could also do the reverse of what's proposed here, i.e. offer the 
user the ability to "skip the navigation", "skip the header section", 
and of course "skip *to* the navigation".

WAI-ARIA has the role="main" attribute which *can* be used to explicitly 
mark up the main content. See 
http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/2010/10/using-wai-aria-landmark-roles/

In short, there are some markup constructs that could provide more or 
less unambiguous, machine-readable clues to user agents so that they 
could provide the various skip to/over functionalities. The problem will 
still remain for legacy content (or situations where an author doesn't 
have direct control of the markup, like in a CMS, but then they couldn't 
manually add skip links either I guess).

P
-- 
Patrick H. Lauke
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Received on Saturday, 12 May 2012 14:11:17 GMT

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