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RE: changing presentation of links

From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2012 19:30:21 -0800
To: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EE43A638A0C5E34E80AF78EFE940FC2C01B6DFDFA5@nambx09.corp.adobe.com>
I should know better than to shoot off a quick answer.  

Users need to be able to see the links and differentiate them from other text.  The issue doesn't have anything to do with changing the color of the links - the failure associated with links and 1.4.1 is when the only way a user can identify a link is by a difference in color.  If information (e.g. "this is a link") is conveyed by color alone (e.g. no underlining or other distinct non-color-based visual treatment) then there is a failure.  My comments about the cursor change and focusing of links was not the point I wanted to make.  Both of those features help, but I'm certainly not suggesting that users should scan the page with the mouse cursor and watch for the hand to appear as a good strategy for finding links.


Andrew Kirkpatrick
Group Product Manager, Accessibility
Adobe Systems 


-----Original Message-----
From: David Woolley [mailto:forums@david-woolley.me.uk] 
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2012 6:04 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: changing presentation of links

Andrew Kirkpatrick wrote:
> I would say none.  Links are identifiable by being able to tab to 
> them, or by the cursor changing appearance, as well as other ways that 
> I'm probably forgetting.  There is an impact on usability, for sure, 
> but I don't think that you'd fail 1.4.1.

I would say that it is a serious impediment for anyone with even the mildest cognitive disability, including the elderly in normal mental health.  When combined with the tendency to use graphic links to achieve a custom user interface paradigm, I described the need to wave the mouse and look for cursor changes as "hunt the links", probably a decade ago.

For elderly users, not brought up on the web, they need a simple set of rules for finding links.  Reverse engineering the user interface paradigm is not easy for someone who has not had a lot of practice in doing it for many different paradigms, and neither is searching for links by quartering the screen looking for cursor changes.  I suspect a lot of younger users aren't familiar with tabbing between links.

Also, I would consider usability to be a pre-condition for accessibility.

David Woolley
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Received on Friday, 9 November 2012 03:30:59 UTC

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