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Re: Links in context - or not?


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Oct 31, 2008 1:51PM

Webb, KerryA wrote:

> One of our Web managers has asked me for advice on this topic:
> To improve access for the visually impaired on our new website, we are
> adopting this approach:
> * Minimising the number of links in the middle of sentences - as it
> interrupts the screen reading process
> * Preferably having links at the end of sentences
> * Or better still having links under a Relevant links heading

It's a bit strange that people who have responded so far have expressed
sentiments to the contrary. I would say that this is the way to go.

> My initial response was that all users would be better served by
> having links in context, but I said that I'd ask if anyone was better
> informed about this.

That was my initial feeling when authoring web pages, and I still use
"contextual links" for _non-essential_ links, but I have changed my general
opinion on this. The way the human mind works, we first read (or listen or
whatever) the main content, as continuous flow, and then we decide whether
we wish to follow links to secondary material.

Screen readers are just a small part of this. When you read an article, you
don't normally want to make excursions to other material. You might
appreciate a "further reading" suggestion at the end, but not in the middle
of the presentation. It's like saying "I don't know whether I picked up the
relevant content".

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/