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rationale for standardizing "start-reading" bookmark name

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 17:34:35 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199811052234.RAA12573@access2.digex.net>
To: nir.dagan@econ.upf.es
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
to follow up on what nir.dagan@econ.upf.es said:

> Al wrote:
> ...The specific text of the anchor name and link text..
>  should be a topic of recommended usage in the guidelines document.
> Why should the anchor name be "standard"? Is it in order to allow external
> websites to link to a website without checking the name of the anchor? or 
> for configuring a browser "always look for #start-reading when following a 
> link that has no fragment identifier"?

Sorry, but the policy analysis behind this recommendation is
something that I took a long time to get to, so I am going to
expand on this point a little more and more emphatically than my
previous message.

The basic reason for standardizing the name of the target anchor
is that there are two people who have to implement part of the
linking function involved: the better we name the function by
what we tell them to name the target, the better they will
implement their two pieces in a consistent and constructive way.

The author of the target page needs to place a bookmark [named
anchor, link target] at some point in his/her page.  To place
this mark at the right place in his/her page, the author needs to
understand the intent of this feature.  "Start reading here" is
the best mnemonic I have come up with to date for the rule I
would tell the target page author as to where to put this markup.
It is a concept that requires no unusual orientation to
disabilities or assistive technology.  The H1 or other main
heading in the [body FRAME of the] body of the document is where
someone would start reading, if asked to read the page over the
phone.  The icons arrayed across the head of the page or down the
left margin would be treated as letterhead telling you things
about the speaker; not content of the page.  I think that
"start-reading" is a good name for a mark that signals "Start
reading here."

Authors of referring pages need good mnemonic #fragment names in
order to select a target appropriate to what they are doing.  If
the choices are well identified by the mnemonic value of the URL
reference including the #fragment, then more people will use it

The mnemonic quality of anchor names matters both because of the
above need to synchronize the manually-controlled usage of two
page authors, and also because some browsing users will be
employing the #fragment in direct navigation, i.e. entering it
directly into a text field in the UI of the browser.  For such
use, mnemonic quality matters.

Review of value added by standardization:

* Bring expectations of target and referring page authors into
synchronization.  Means the net effect of links is smoother and
pages work together better.  Also the function implemented is
more often in line with the way we optimized it for universal

* Reduces training and thinking required of page authors to
implement a link and the optimum link in this general functional

Received on Thursday, 5 November 1998 17:44:24 UTC

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