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Comments Working Draft of WCAG 2.0

From: Web Usability <rhudson@usability.com.au>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 16:58:42 +1100
To: "Public-Comments-Wcag20" <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GGEEINFOLDEIIBPBECEMEEBLCGAA.rhudson@usability.com.au>

Hi Working Group

Comments on WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 2.4.5 follow:

WCAG 2.0, Success Criterion 2.4.5 states:

“2.4.5 Each programmatic reference to another delivery unit or to another
location in the same delivery unit, is associated with text describing the
destination. (Level 2)”

This guideline is a replacement for WCAG 1.0, Checkpoint 13.1 “Clearly
identify the target of each link [Priority 2]”. However 13.1 also requires
link text to meaningful enough to make sense when read out of context,
either on their own or as a sequence of links.

The “Understanding WCAG 2.0 (Working Draft 23 November 2005)” document, asks
for comments on meeting success criterion 2.4.5. In particular it is seeking
input regarding how close the association between the text and the
destination should be.

Over the years, I have observed a variety of people using screen readers to
access websites. In virtually all cases, the facility provided by the screen
reader that enables the user to obtain a list of links on a page is the
preferred technique when using a site to look for information or undertake a
task. Obviously this is only effective when the link text indicates the link
destination. Many times I have seen screen reader users become frustrated
with links that contain only the words "more", "next" or "click here".

The “Understanding WCAG 2.0” document provides the following example of
where fully descriptive text for each link may not be appropriate. “If you
have a page with a list of book titles with links saying WORD, PDF, HTML,
and TEXT following each title, it seems logical that having the title next
to the row of links would be better than repeating the title in each of the
links.”

The repetition of the book title with each of the formats it is available
in, as described in the example above, might be frustrating in some
circumstances. However, in my opinion many more screen reader users are
likely to be frustrated by the repeated use of the “more” link on pages with
introductory extracts to articles as often occur on sites associated with
new organizations.

I believe it is very important for link text to provide a clear indication
of the link destination. Also, the link text should make sense without the
need to rely on surrounding contextual information or a title attribute
within the link element.

If web authors and developers are concerned about how the display of
repetitive descriptive link information might affect the visual appearance
of the site, the full text describing the destination could be used for the
first link, which should be the HTML version, and then icons for the other
formats as links including with each icon a text alternative describing the
book title and the format (eg, alt=”book title PDF 250 kb”)

Another effective approach is to provide additional descriptive text for
each link and then use CSS to stop the additional text being displayed,
while still allowing it to be voiced by a screen reader. Information about
how this can be done is available at:

Simple, accessible "more" links
http://www.maxdesign.com.au/presentation/more-links/

Simple, accessible external links
http://www.maxdesign.com.au/presentation/external/
Received on Monday, 19 December 2005 05:59:01 UTC

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