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Re: Why Skip Navigation Links are a Hack

From: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 00:35:54 +0100 (BST)
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20030614002726.M1479-100000@fenris.webthing.com>

On Fri, 13 Jun 2003, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

> Hi everyone.
> Skip Navigation links are there to compensate for a deficiency in HTML.
> Namely, there's no good way to designate "sections" of a page which
> can't
> be navigated through easily.  The browser can't figure out which is
> which,
> and so needs help from the author.

On the contrary, HTML provides distinct <HEAD> and <BODY> elements,
designating the former to contain metadata and the latter the
document to be presented directly by a browser to human readers.

HTML also provides a <LINK> element, which is ideally suited to
navigation.  The problem arises because certain popular browsers
fail to support the LINK element.

> In XHTML 2.0, this problem may be solved, at least if the ideas in the
> current version of the XHTML 2.0 draft are followed through.  The

It would equally well be solved if the ideas in HTML 2.0 (and later
versions) were adequately supported by browsers.

> By making both content section structure and navigation functionality
> explicit in the markup, XHTML 2.0 does a great service for
> accessibility:
> An XHTML 2.0-aware browser is able to generate its own structured
> outline
> of the document, allow skipping to the next section, and allow automatic
> skipping of navigation lists.

This presupposes authors taking any notice of the XHTML structure,
which again brings it back to the same situation as with current HTML.

> This is a great step forward in patching one of the glaring holes in the
> HTML language which has made it an obstacle to Web accessibility
> (requiring
> the use of nasty hacks like "skip navigation").

I agree that "skip navigation" is a particularly nasty hack, but it's
not the fault of HTML.

Nick Kew

In urgent need of paying work - see http://www.webthing.com/~nick/cv.html
Received on Friday, 13 June 2003 19:35:59 UTC

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