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RE: Programmatic association of generic link text

From: Roger Hudson <rhudson@usability.com.au>
Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2012 20:06:13 +1000
To: "'Jan Eric Hellbusch'" <hellbusch@2bweb.de>, "'Vivienne CONWAY'" <v.conway@ecu.edu.au>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <004301cd8a84$ec2f2040$c48d60c0$@com.au>
I agree the best approach is to have meaningful link text, but sadly the W3C
decided to relegate this to AAA in WCAG 2.0. We all had an opportunity to
argue against this during the protracted process of getting WCAG 2.0
introduced, but in the end although some of us argued against it, we weren't
vocal enough and didn't have the numbers or strength to win the day.

However, on a wider point - I am becoming increasingly concerned by the
tendency to see Techniques as rules. Let us not forget, Techniques are
informative, whereas Principals, Guidelines and Success Criteria are

If we start treating Techniques as normative rules we might find ourselves
slipping back into the WCAG 1.0 mindset.



-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Eric Hellbusch [mailto:hellbusch@2bweb.de] 
Sent: Tuesday, 4 September 2012 7:51 PM
To: 'Vivienne CONWAY'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Programmatic association of generic link text

Hi Vivienne,

> http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/F63
> This failure deals with the context needed to understand the purpose 
> of a
link.  It
> states that the text in question needs to be in the same 'sentence,
paragraph, list
> item, or table cell as the link".  I'm seeing a lot of people putting 
> it
in a <div>
> element rather than the above items.  Would you consider that to be a

The short answer is "yes" and the long answer is "it depends".

The failure is clear and DIV is not one of the allowed parameters. In
practical terms there are situations where DIV works fine, being tested with
JAWS or NVDA. Other/older screenreaders could do something different with
blocks of text in a DIV separated by BR.

There are other situations where several blocks of text are presented
visually only by CSS, i.e. <div><span>first block</span><span>second
block</span></div>. That often does not work with screenreaders, which may
treat the entire content as one paragraph. Thus, it can get difficult for
screenreaders to discover the context of a link. 

So, in doubt, DIV ist not OK.

In most situations like the above links are part of a sentence, so there are
other means for screenreader users to discover the context, and using DIV
does not invoke a failure.


Jan Eric Hellbusch
Tel.: +49 (231) 86436760 oder +49 (163) 3369925
Web: http://2bweb.de     Twitter: www.twitter.com/2bweb
Das Buch über barrierefreies Webdesign:
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Received on Tuesday, 4 September 2012 10:07:40 UTC

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