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Re: Using Heading to Replace Skip Links

From: Userite <richard@userite.com>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2012 01:58:33 +0100
Message-ID: <7D1777B7CD504AE68294527FAADD3BFE@DaddyPC>
To: "Sailesh Panchang" <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>, "Devarshi Pant" <devarshipant@gmail.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
If I may but in here...

There is nothing that says that any single technique should enable you to 
completely meet a particular success criteria. For any particular problem 
you need to select one or more techniques that together meet your need. This 
approach gives the designer the flexibility to meet the widest possible 
range of situations.

So for skipping repeated elements such as navigation lists the technique of 
correct semantic code (headings) helps blind users whilst the "skip to 
content" technique helps sighted keyboard users. One does not replace the 
other. The semantic technique works for blind users because we typically 
list the headings as soon as the page opens. we only list the links if the 
content, as described by the headings, does not interest us. Sighted 
keyboard users can see the headings but cannot get to them directly because 
most browsers do not have the function to list headings so they have to tab 
through the navigation links to get to any links in the content, unless you 
provide the skip function. If you want to be able to use semantic code for 
page navigation by everybody (including sighted users) then you need to talk 
to all the web-browser manufacturers and persuade them ALL to add the 
facility and the necessary extra buttons to their current and legacy 
browsers - Good luck!

Don't forget that the use of the semantic technique does more than just help 
a user to get to the content, it also gives us an overview of the page and 
gives us the option to go to just a particular sections. It also helps 
programmes such as search robots and data analysis to catalogue page content 
more accurately. Skipping repetitive content, sample code, ascii art etc. 
saves effort for the sighted keyboard user but does not add value to the 
content, so the two techniques have different purposes and cannot be 
combined (even though they can, in the context of skipping navigation bars, 
perform similar functions).

In the meantime please use the *selection* of relevant techniques that are 
required to enable all users to have a positive and constructive experience 
when visiting your sites.

Kind Regards

-----Original Message----- 
From: Sailesh Panchang
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 5:53 PM
To: Devarshi Pant
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Using Heading to Replace Skip Links

Someone from WCAG-WG should weigh in ... I too had made the same
argument to them before.
I also highlight out that there are techniques that point to multiple
SC. So a technique that addresses multiple accessibility problems can
be coherently combined into one and should be done for headings.
Well breadcrumb or left nav  is  a 'section' of a page that is
visually identified as a section even though they contain UI elements
mostly. Non-sighted users too should be able to perceive them in like
manner and navigate to them if needed. Aria-landmarks help now. But
some prefer to use off-screen headings to provide this functionality

On 5/16/12, Devarshi Pant <devarshipant@gmail.com> wrote:
> Sailesh,
> You make a valid point in your post. I think there should be greater
> consensus on whether H69 is sufficient or not for SC 2.4.1, which
> seemed to be the intent of the original post by Vivienne - correct me
> otherwise. Also note that the definition of section (from
> understanding SC 2.4.10 – Key Terms) reads: “A self-contained portion
> of written content that deals with one or more related topics or
> thoughts. Note: A section may consist of one or more paragraphs and
> include graphics, tables, lists and sub-sections.”
> Correct me, but this definition seems to imply that a section is part
> of the written content besides other things. If one is to replace
> ‘headings’ with ‘structure’ and ‘content’ with ‘sections,’ H42
> becomes, “…HTML and XHTML heading markup to provide semantic code for
> headings (implying *structure*) in the content (implying *from which
> Sections are derived*). Isn’t this H69 written differently? On a
> related note, G141 and H69 may talk about the same thing but then
> refer to different success criteria. Shouldn’t there be a single
> technique on headings which points to multiple success criteria?
> To help understand, I took a line from each of the techniques below:
> **H42: The objective of this technique is to use HTML and XHTML
> heading markup to provide semantic code for headings in the content.
> (SC 1.3.1)
> **H69: The objective of this technique is to use section headings to
> convey the structure of the content. (SC 2.4.1)
> **G141: The objective of this technique is to ensure that sections
> have headings that identify them. (SC 1.3.1; 2.4.10)
> -Devarshi
>>>Sailesh wrote:
> 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).
Received on Friday, 18 May 2012 00:58:58 UTC

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