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Re: The title attribute in navigational links.

From: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 23:11:26 +0100 (BST)
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20030628224136.Q941-100000@fenris.webthing.com>

> Has anyone any thoughts on the use of the title attribute in links on
> navigational structures (read as the main navigation on any site).

The question presupposes a well-defined distinction between the
"main navigation" and any other links at a site.  There is not
always any such distinction, nor is there uniformity over
different sites concerning how "main navigation" links are presented.
Not only is a comprehensible, useful, and preferably compact navigation
structure more important than title attributes, but the design of it
might very well determine in any particular case whether and how the
attribute should be used.

OK, having sid that ...

> What accessibility benefits does the title attribute hold with particular
> relevance to navigation links?

It enables user agents to present additional often-useful information
to the user.  This is evident in graphical browsers that render title
as tooltips, and in accessibility aids such as mod_accessibility that
enable the user to view summary link information.  Note that a corollary
of "this is evident" is that bad practice (eg title attributes that
merely duplicate link text) is also exposed.

> Is it useful to include a reference to the accesskey in the title

Hmmm .. it would cause accesskeys to be shown in lists of links in
situations where title but not accesskey is displayed.

> How is the title attribute handled in various assistive technologies.

It's not *just* assistive technologies we should be concerned with -
those tooltips can be a significant aid to accessibility in some cases.
As noted above, mod_accessibility presents title as one column of a table
when asked for a list of the links in a page.

A supplementary question to Tim's ones:

Where HTML links point to (other) HTML documents, there are clearly
many cases where the title of the link's target would be a good choice
of title for the link.  But are there any cases where this would be
actively harmful?

Nick Kew

In urgent need of paying work - see http://www.webthing.com/~nick/cv.html
Received on Saturday, 28 June 2003 18:11:43 UTC

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