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RE: Rethinking the necessities of ARIA landmark role "main" and HTML5 <main> element

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2013 22:01:59 +0000 (UTC)
To: Steve Green <steve.green@testpartners.co.uk>, Léonie Watson <tink@tink.co.uk>
cc: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1304032154160.15713@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Wed, 27 Mar 2013, Steve Green wrote:
> Can you give an example of how this might be implemented, because I 
> cannot see any sensible way to do so? If the content the user wants to 
> jump to is not marked with <main> or role=main, surely the only way to 
> jump to it is by exception i.e. the user indicates they want to jump 
> somewhere but not to any of the explicit landmarks.

Content is either interesting content or not interesting content. If you 
mark up all the not interesting content such that it is detectable, then 
by elimitation, if you skip all such content, the content you reach would 
be interesting content.

It's the exact same thing as the reverse, where you mark up interesting 
content rather than uninteresting content, and then you skip past content 
that is not marked as interesting.

> How does your solution work if the user has already navigated past the 
> main content so they need to navigate backwards? It seems to me that a 
> 'skip to main content' feature would work from anywhere on a page 
> whereas a 'skip past the next n sections' feature may not (maybe it can 
> - I can't envision how it would be implemented).

If there's no more interesting content on the page after the current user 
position, then the UA can just skip back to the top and advance to the 
next (first) piece of interesting content. This is similar to how "find on 
this page" interfaces say "returning to top" when they try to search past 
the last instance of the search term.

On Wed, 27 Mar 2013, Léonie Watson wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote: "In the interface I am proposing, there is no 
> repeated questioning. The user indicates to the software that the user 
> wishes to skip uninteresting content and jump to interesting content, in 
> a single action (exactly the same kind of action as is used to jump to a 
> header, or to jump to a specific landmark role). Then, the user agent 
> skips all uninteresting content and jumps straight to the content the 
> user wants (the same content as would be marked with <main> or 
> role=main)."
> From the user's point of view I think this is right. The phrases 
> "interesting" and "uninteresting" are too subjective to be helpful, but 
> essentially a single command that moves focus to the start of the main 
> content area of the page is the goal.
> From an implementation point of view I think this is inefficient. It's 
> more reliable and less process intensive to move from A to Z, than it is 
> to move from A, to B, to C, to D and so on until all that remains by a 
> process of elimination is Z.

In practice both are pretty much trivial to implement.

> So if the goal is to have a single mechanism for moving directly to a 
> given point on the page, what's the hook the UA uses to make that 
> possible?

I think part of the problem with the "mark up the main section" idea is 
that there's typically not only one piece of interesting content. For 
example, look at the front page of cnn.com. What one piece of content 
would you mark up as "main"? How would the user navigate the rest of the 
page, once they've read that bit?

With a "skip uninteresting stuff" feature, many more parts of the page are 
opened up, while still allowing the page authors to denote certain parts 
as secondary.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 3 April 2013 22:02:32 UTC

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