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RE: Skip Nav Ideas

From: Jim Thatcher <thatch@attglobal.net>
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 19:27:42 -0500
To: sec508@trace.wisc.edu, Katie Haritos-Shea <kshea@apollo.fedworld.gov>
Cc: michael_cortese@ita.doc.gov, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, wai-xtech@w3.org, w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Message-id: <NDBBKJDAKKEJDCICIODLKEJMDCAA.thatch@attglobal.net>

I find the objections by Kynn and others to the use of a Skip Navigation
Link as alt text on an image unconvincing. I believe the skip navigation
idea is second to alt text on images in importance in making a site

When CNN goes to the National Federation of the Blind and asks what they can
do to improve navigation of the  site, the suggestion of placing a skip
navigation link is simple, clear doable, practical and it works. It may be a
hack as Kynn says, but the alternatives don't work.

For me its important to be able to offer clear and simple solutions, hack or
not, when a client requests guidance on making their site accessible. This
technique takes no special considerations; the user doesn't have to have CSS
turned off (for Gregory's suggestion) or require a major rethinking of their
site development as for Kynn's advertisement for Reef. I guess it is not
surprising that I like Gregory's technique too, except for the problem that
screen readers know about visibility:hide and so you would have to have
style sheets disabled.

Two additional methods not mentioned in your list are detailed (sort of) in
the section on Accessible Navigation of the ITTATC Web Course
(http://jimthatcher.com/webcourse4.htm). The first is to use the same
foreground as background colors for the skip link. This is done at
http://www.assistivetech.net. The second is to fuss with formatting tables
so that navigation area(s) read after main content (see the examples).

Accessibility Consulting

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-sec508@trace.wisc.edu [mailto:owner-sec508@trace.wisc.edu]On
Behalf Of gregory j. rosmaita
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2001 3:18 PM
To: Katie Haritos-Shea
Cc: michael_cortese@ita.doc.gov; w3c-wai-gl@w3.org; wai-xtech@w3.org;
w3c-wai-eo@w3.org; sec508@trace.wisc.edu
Subject: Re: Skip Nav Ideas

aloha, katie!

rather than use a spacer gif, i have used CSS to "hide" skip navigation
links -- for example:

1. define a class using the CSS property/value set display:none in the
"@media screen" section of the stylesheet --
   hide { display:none }

2. apply the class to the "skip" link, either directly or using span --
   <a class="hide" href="#main">Skip Navigation Links</a>
or <a href="#main"><span class="hide">Skip Navigation Links</span></a>

advantages over the spacer.gif technique:
a) user-over-rideable
b) degrades "gracefully" (it's there, whether or not support for CSS is
implemented or turned off)

disadvantage: this technique is aurally-biased, in that, unless support
for CSS is turned off, or unless a user's UA allows him/her to block
invisible text via a configuration setting, the "Skip Nav" link will be
invisible, and, hence, not readily available to the photon-dependent...

so, i suppose that, in summation, i agree with kynn -- while some
techniques may be better/more interoperable than others, any technique
using currently implemented technology is bound to be a hack with inherent

ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's
own opinion.                -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devils' Dictionary_
Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
               Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
Received on Monday, 4 June 2001 20:51:27 UTC

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