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RE: Visible skip navigation links, was: good example


From: Derek Featherstone
Date: Nov 13, 2003 7:01AM

Karl Groves wrote:
> You're saying that those with motor impairments can use the
> skip link as a method to more quickly get to in-context links?
> I've never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense.

Indeed it does... Like most things that are good for accessibility, they can
benefit all (remember the age-old curb cut story?).

Some mechanism to skip straight to the content can be useful for *anyone*,
not just visually impaired users, or users with temporary or permanent motor
impairments. A skip nav that allows you to go straight to the content helps
those who use keyboard navigation, whether they have any type of impairment
or not.

Temporary conditions are possible here too i.e., my mouse got fried, or it
stopped responding, a crash is imminent, etc etc etc... Two personal
anecdotes come to mind:

1. When I was still on dial up, and knew less about computers, I had a
hardware conflict between my mouse and my modem -- I could only use one at a
time. Troubleshooting and research took me to the Internet and a few support
sites. If I wanted to connect to these sites, I had to go mouseless so that
I could connect via modem..

2. I used keyboard navigation exclusively for almost a year in 1995, because
my mouse was fried (same computer!!) and I couldn't get the time to
purchase a new one in the week following, so it became habit. This could
happen to anyone, at anytime, without warning...

Skip nav type links move the focus to wherever you set the skip nav to point
to, so instead of tabbing through 30 links to get to the content and to be
able to follow any of the links that are in that content. If a skip nav
mechanism is first, you only have to tab to it, invoke it, and then you are
at the content, only a few short keystrokes later...

Best regards,
Derek Featherstone <EMAIL REMOVED>
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of WATS.ca
Web Accessibility Testing and Services
http://www.wats.ca 1.866.932.4878 (North America)

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