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

From: Ian Yang <ian@invigoreight.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 21:41:56 +0800
Message-ID: <CABr1FsewUtCGbNS79HB3SNU2mp6mUf-E65wgqqLyoqy3N9PPJg@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Thanks for Patrick H. Lauke and Charles McCathie Nevile's advises, which
clearly explained an explicit element dedicated for the main content is a
consistent and better way over using "skip to" links, which are currently
being implemented inconsistently and buggy across websites.

Apparently, people who disagreed with the introductions of "main" role and
<main> element are purely out of structural reason. They thought by using
"process of elimination" is enough to tell the main content, so in the html
structure there doesn't need to be a <main> element or an element being
given the "main" role; while people who agreed with the introductions of
these two features are out of accessibility reason.

Perhaps basing on different reasons is why people could not reach an

Kind Regards,
Ian Yang

On Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM, Charles McCathie Nevile <
chaals@yandex-team.ru> wrote:

> 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
> extension.
>  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.
> cheers
> Chaals
> --
> 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 13:42:25 UTC

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