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Re: Links in context - or not?


From: Cliff Tyllick
Date: Oct 31, 2008 8:30AM

Others have covered this issue well from the standpoint of impact on people who have some vision, but no one has pointed out that this is a change that wouldn't particularly benefit people who must rely on an assistive technology that reads the text to them.

JAWS and other true ATs can produce and read a list of all links in the page, regardless of where they're located. I haven't worked with very many folks who use AT, but every one I've encountered uses this feature to skim the contents of a page, just as sighted readers will first scan for links without really reading the text.

Sighted or not, users show us that links in context, especially when the wording of the text in each link is meaningful, work best for them. So going to the trouble of sequestering the links at the end of the paragraph or in a sidebar creates some new problems and offers no benefit -- even though I highly respect one leader in the field of Web design who espouses that approach.

Cliff Tyllick
Web development coordinator
Agency Communications Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

>>> "Webb, KerryA" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > 10/31/2008 12:08 AM >>>
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

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.

Any suggestions?


Kerry Webb

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