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Re: escape, not skip, tank traps [was: Re: Inaccessibility of older Flash movies]

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 17:21:08 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF2456D666.F84F742F-ON86256C21.0078D526@pok.ibm.com>

Al wrote:
>My point here is that the skip-nav or its cousin here the skip-movie link,
>is something to do with what we have today; but that the answer for the
>future is not a 'skip' method but an 'escape' method that provides the
>'skip' capability and more.  Navigation bars are just another sub-case
>along with tables and movies.

Charles wrote:
>I agree with Al that the model of being able to get into a navigation
>structure and get out of it at ny point is better than having to decide at
>the beginnning whether or not to follow the "skip navigation links" link.

Well, we need both.  The "escape out" is not the same as the "skip to".
The "escape out" only allows one to get out of the current structure while
the "skip to" doesn't rely on any structure nor on what is between your
current location and the target.  For example, a local link "skip to main
content" allows one to efficiently skip over navigation links, nested
navigation links, advertisement, and lots of other structures that the
designer may choose to elegantly design (cram) into the top and side real
estate of the site pages.  The escape only allows one to escape out of the
current structure.  If the structures in the top and side navigation are
nested, which they are often, one will be "escaping out" a few times before
ever getting to the top of the main content.

The "escape out" is a browser, or more important;y, as assistive technology
responsibility.  IBM Home Page Reader (and other screen readers) today
allow one to escape to the next item, escape out to the bottom of a map,
list, table, and other structures such as select menus.  Since we can't
force designers to use the same XHTML structures on every page, the best
solution to ask designers to provide is a "skip to the main content" link
and use reasonable structures (I include paragraphs here) that the
browser/AT can escape out of along the way if so desired.

The problem I see in web sites today trying to be accessible , is the
confusion over the two concepts caused by WCAG 1.0 checkpoint 13.6 (see
[1]) and 508 Web paragraph O (see [2]). At least 508 got the skip to main
content correct. WCAG is 2 years older than 508 and needs a revision before
getting to WCAG 2.0.

[1] WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 13.6 techniques for grouping and bypassing links
[2] 508 1194.22 paragraph O Skip navigation links

Phill Jenkins,  IBM Research Division - Accessibility Center
Received on Monday, 26 August 2002 18:21:42 UTC

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