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Re: Rethinking the necessities of ARIA landmark role "main" and HTML5 <main> element

From: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:09:22 +0100
Cc: "Steve Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: "Ian Yang" <ian@invigoreight.com>
Message-ID: <op.wugb5woky3oazb@chaals.local>
On Sun, 24 Mar 2013 04:24:45 +0100, Ian Yang <ian@invigoreight.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 8:33 AM, Charles McCathie Nevile <
> chaals@yandex-team.ru> wrote:
>> A major reason for the element is to replace the "skip to main content"
>> links that are all over the web, for accessibility purposes. While the  
>> use
>> of those links is a terrible bit of architecture (they only work if you
>> start from the top of the page and navigate with the keyboard, etc etc)
>> they are deemed useful enough to include on all kinds of websites whose
>> designs have been through multiple rounds of usability testing to ensure
>> they make sense in practice.
> Hi Charles,
> Thanks for your opinion.
> About the "skip to main content" link, I have heard suggestions said that
> it's also useful for some other users (laptop users, etc) who can only
> navigate by using keyboard.

Of course it is. It is still not a good solution, compared to an element
that allows the browser to provide a superior native functionality to all
users, or "assistive technology" which might well just be a browser

> So maybe it should not be replaced even if AT are all working well with
> ARIA landmark roles.

While screenreader users are more or less all keyboard users, many  
keyboard users aren't screenreader users. "main" doesn't only apply to  
screenreaders. Replacing "skip to content" links would be great. A  
consistent way to get from anywhere in any
page to the main content is far better than working out all the little  
differences in presentation, tab order, and so on when every website does  
the whole thing itself, even if they do it without bugs. Many "skip to  
content" links are implemented with bugs (mostly caused by hiding the link  
in the visual presentation).

Useful background would be to understand the discussions around accesskeys  
and the rel attribute from about 10 years ago. Look for John Foliot and  
Jukka Korpela explaining the problem. I proposed solutions which revolved  
around improving the implementations. Opera and iCab have implementations  
that are not bad, but the rest of the browsers range from bad to terrible  
unfortunately. The HTML5 spec offers a significant improvement on the HTML  
4 spec, but I think there is more work to actually do this properly.

The reason it is useful to understand is that accesskey is a general  
solution for keyboard access, where "main" provides a solution for one  
specific issue. The general solution happily incorporates and should defer  
to the specific solution.



Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex
         chaals@yandex-team.ru         Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Sunday, 24 March 2013 13:09:55 UTC

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