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Re: Minimal style needed to make links accessible?


From: David Farough
Date: Aug 24, 2010 12:15PM

I think that Tim made a good point when he said that the user needs to
be able to understand that an element can be activated or clicked. If
the link looks to much like the surrounding text it may be overlooked.
While using an arrow or some other symbol may be a solution, it might
also create extra chatter for a screen reader user. While finding
suitable contrasting colours for link text may be difficult, Perhaps a
slight modification to the background colour for the link would also
help to set it apart from the surrounding text.

This idea of using as little styling as possible to display a link is
likely to make the web more difficult for everyone in the long run.

David Farough
Application Accessibility Coordinator/coordonateur de l'accessibilité
Information Technology Services Directorate /
Direction des services d'information technologiques
Public Service Commission / Commission de la fonction publique
Email / Courriel: <EMAIL REMOVED>
Tel. / Tél: (613) 992-2779

>>> "Jukka K. Korpela" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > 01:38 PM Tuesday, August
24, 2010 >>>
tom mcCain wrote:

>> according to F73: . . . they could be (for example) bolded or
> italicized insted of underlined.
> Bold face and italic (more accurately, oblique, not italic on web
> sites) have other, better uses than link styling.

Indeed: they can, for example, be used to _emphasize_ some links.

On web pages, italic and oblique really mean the same, which can be
oblique, or false oblique, depending on the font. But this is a
issue. (For Times New Roman, <i> gives you italic. For Arial, oblique,
or less. For Arial Unicode MS, false oblique, i.e. normal letters as
algorithmically slanted. This isn't really about accessibility, except
false oblique may create an insult and an obstacle to typographically
oriented people. :-))

I fail to see any wisdom in F73. Surely you cannot expect that bolding
italics (or oblique) font as such could convey the meaning of a link.
might do that in a well-design user style sheet known to the user. But
the authoring side, if you remove underlining of links, there's nothing
could use to communicate link-ness except (possibly) by color. Anything
is up to a convention, and there are no global conventions on this.
italics or bolding will probably just confuse.

And if the idea is that such rendering features are explicitly
explained on
a page, like "bolding means link on this page", then there are several

1) it draws attention to technicalities, which is a bad thing in
2) people don't read explanations
3) it deprives you of possibilities of using bolding for any other
4) it sounds foolish when read aloud.

A more sensible idea is to insert a left-pointing arrow before each
that might not otherwise be recognized as a link. This corresponds to
encyclopedic tradition and is fairly intuitive. I'm not advocating such

rendering except that it beats the F73 ideas without breathing hard.

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