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RE: Visible skip navigation links, was: good example


From: julian.rickards@ndm.gov.on.ca
Date: Nov 13, 2003 8:01AM

The problem with hiding the skip link (even it exists and will be found or
even made visible by tabbing) is that IMHO, if it is not immediately
visible, then a person may quickly tab past it in an effort to get to the
content or a link within the content. I used to think that hiding the "ugly"
skip link was best for the site design (and yet still good for the user) but
now I am thinking that having it visible is not such a bad thing - maybe
even dress it up a bit. Think of many bricks and mortar business that must
create accessible entrances or place wheelchair access symbols on washroom
doors and many other legislated features. At first, shoddy, wooden, poorly
constructed ramps were created but more recently, architects have found very
attractive means of incorporating accessibility into building designs.
Rather than fight about how to hide a skip link yet still maintaining its
availability, why not discuss means of dressing it up so that it looks nice
in the design?

Secondly, although I don't know much about search engines, there has been
numerous comments recently about hiding skip links and how search engines
may treat that as spam and black list the page. If this is true, we don't
want to recommend a method of hiding a skip link (on every page of a
client's site) and have the site black listed. Stephanie, your readers won't
appreciate learning that a technique will make their clients lose money.

If anyone can clearly identify how a search engine treats hidden information
and how it handles a page with hidden information, that would be most

Julian Rickards
Digital Publications Distribution Coordinator
Publications Services Section
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Phone: (705) 670-5608
Fax: (705) 670-5690

> -----Original Message-----
> Well, I've either used visual ones (I'm only arguing theory
> here) or, in an
> upcoming book project on DW, I show how to create a skiplink
> that is hidden
> when you use a mouse but is visual when tabbing and read by
> screenreaders as
> well.

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