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Re: Using Heading to Replace Skip Links

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 11:32:11 -0400
Message-ID: <CAJi9Cqoj=fYBuMurh==cdLGd3GY3mfZJpexkmsxL-5wf75=GZA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
H69 is authored with reference to SC 2.4.1 and not SC 2.4.10.
That's why I maintain that  being able to skip to an h1 or h2 that
hopefully is the main content is a byproduct of user agent's feature
that lets one skip headings to comprehend page structure etc. Then it
does not deserve to be a separate technique but maybe merged with H42.
Yes as you note, some pages do not have headings at start of some
content sections. Typically left nav or breadcrumb nav and sometimes
even main content, though there might be other headings on the page.
One may insert invisible headings to aid screen reader navigation ...
this is exploiting the screen reader's heading navigation feature.
This will not work for sighted keyboard users.
Adding visible  headings where none exist will help the page comply
with SC 2.4.10 (AAA) and might provide an alternative way to skip to
main content SC 2.4.1).

On 5/11/12, Ramón Corominas <listas@ramoncorominas.com> wrote:
> Hi, Sailesh,
> I think H42 and H69 are different techniques for different purposes.
> H42 explicitly mentions "H1-H6", that is, "old" HTML<5-style of
> providing headings. In HTML5, even if you can use H1-H6, the
> recommendation will be to use only H1 within section elements; of
> course, we have to wait until "accessibility support" is enough to rely
> on this.
> On the other hand, H69 explicitly says "provide headings at the
> beginning of EACH section". Main content is for sure a "section" of the
> document, so there must be a heading at the beginning of the main
> content and thus the main content is "reachable" through headings
> (typicall "skip to content" has exactly the same functionality).
> Does H69 guarantee a proper structure (for 1.3.1)? Maybe not, because
> sections could still be wrongly nested.
> Does H42 guarantee that the user can bypass repeated blocks of content
> (for SC 2.4.1)? Maybe, but what happens if the main content does not
> have a main heading? (H42 does not say that "headings are needed", it
> only says that H1-H6 can be used to identify [existing] headings).
> Regards,
> Ramón.
> Sailesh wrote:
>> Headings are meant to expose structure. That's what they do visually
>> and allow screen reader users too to comprehend structure.
>> Maybe jumping to an h1 (or h2) where such a tag is used consistently
>> across pages on a site might help screen reader users (and say Opera
>> users) navigate to main content. That is an alternative method and is
>> perhaps incidental benefit of heading navigation. But every time one
>> skips to an h1(or h2, etc.)  does not mean one is skipping repetitive
>> blocks of content / navigation.
>> I do not consider it is sufficient for SC 2.4.1 and had conveyed my
>> objection on the technique to WCAG-WG too and suggested they merge it
>> with H42 (headings technique) and convey that it is an incidental
>> benefit of using headings.
>  >
>> Sailesh
Received on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 15:32:45 UTC

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