Re: Why Skip Navigation Links are a Hack

On 13 Jun, Kynn Bartlett wrote:

  Several things. However, I am finding this "discussion" to degrade into
  an offensive tone, and no longer wish to continue. I will, however, answer
  a few of the points.

>>    Frankly, apart from the fact that as it IS in the currently standard
>>    (ie. WCAG 1.0) that is, under some circumstances, to be followed and
>>    hence should be in there, I cannot see that there is a fundamental
>>    difference.
> You're very literal minded.  I'm sorry if "thinking outside the box"
> leads you to reject what you're being told.

  I find this argument surprising - the "thinking outside the box"
  method of debunking other's views seems to be quite popular these days.

  Personally I can think of atleast three[*] different situations in which
  a "skip to main content" link can be of use, not counting screenreaders,
  Speech- or Braille browsers.

  Two of these are useful to me, daily.

  Can you do the same, by your "thinking outside the box" - or have you
  simply decided, arbitrarily, that you are right, everyone else is wrong,
  and should someone disagree they are sticks-in-the-mud who only pay
  lip-service to the WCAG ?

  A "skip to main content" link is a useful navigational aid, and structurally
  acceptable use of the A-element. It also happens to be in the WCAG - perhaps
  because it *is* so useful ?

  Accessibility is not a mere matter of screenreaders and "the letter of the
  WCAG law". So, 13.6 talks about grouping links. Great. The use of 
  "skip navigation" - what I consistently refer to as "skip to main content"
  links can, and should, be so much more.

  Including a link at the beginning of a document that allows the user
  to skip to a certain section benefits users of Speech-, Braille- and
  Screenreader-browsers; it benefits others (see [*]), it fulfills the
  WCAG requirements, and it is structural not presentational.
  Win-win-win-win situation.

  If the literal text of 13.6 is all you wish to see, then you do indeed
  have a point, and I wish you luck in preaching to the other
  sticks-in-the-mud who, like myself, disagree.

[snipped content not worth answering]

  Finally, I feel compelled to express the opinion that I find your arrogant
  and offensive manner to be childish and highly unprofessional. It is
  unbecoming for this list, and quite likely drive more than myself to take
  the view that discussion with you is a waste of time.

  I have none to waste, and subsequently will no longer read your postings
  to the list. It is something I should have done a long time ago.

     (1) Situations in where the device used has a very limited viewport,
         such as a handheld computer. Quite often I use the Palm Tungsten
         with a Bluetooth adapter to 'surf' the web. "Skip to main content
         links" are a great navigational tool.

     (2) Situations where the content is preceeded by a preamble of some
         length, typical of - for instance - some legal documents. Being
         able to skip a piece of content that is really of no interest to
         me is beneficial.

     (3) Situations where, in a graphical, CSS aware browser, a menu is
         positioned next to the content but where, linearized, the menu
         comes before the content. In such situations it is always nice to
         be able to skip to the content itself. This is the only one of the
         three which STRICTLY falls into the realm of checkpoint 13.6.

  As "thinking outside the box" will - hopefully - lead you to understand,
  (2) above cannot be done "automatically" unless you create specific
  elements for every conceivable type of content, and teach every browser
  how to deal with them.

  It seems to be a vain hope that we, some day, should arrive at a limited
  but sufficient language for expressing common concepts without someone
  wanting to turn it into a juggernaut.

 -    Tina Holmboe                    Greytower Technologies      
   [+46] 0708 557 905

Received on Friday, 13 June 2003 22:36:54 UTC