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Re: Rethinking "Skip to Content"


From: Mark Magennis
Date: Dec 2, 2004 10:06AM

> Therefore, wouldn't it be more useful to include two links
> near the beginning of each page read-out, called, "Go to page
> content" and "Go to web site menu".

Dagmar, I think you're touching on an interesting point here. A "skip
navigation" link makes sense only because the current mode of Web design
has the content after the navigation and a lot of the time you want to
get past the navigation to get to the content. There's a historic cause.
This mode has been developed with the large 2 dimensional visual display
in mind. The accepted wisdom is that for this access medium, shared
navigation should go along the top and left with the content below and
to the right. This is all well and good for visual page layout but
unfortunately, due to the way people have coded pages (until CSS), this
has had a knock-on effect on screen readers and other linear access
devices because the browser's presentation order followed the code
order. So the designer's desired visual ordering of navigation and
content determined the code order. Screen readers and other linear
access devices read the code order. Now that screen layout has been
separated from code order, it is possible to think again about the best
arrangement of navigation and content for individual devices. Or even
individual users.

What I'd like to know is what other arrangements of content and
navigation might be possible and useful now. We have ,navigation first
then content' and 'content first then navigation'. Are there other

Your idea of two links "Go to page content" and "Go to web site menu"
reminds me of the time when all "decent" websites had two frames. One
contained the navigation and the other the page content. I've never
quite understood why that was dropped. As long as the frames are
labelled correctly, what is the problem? Perhaps someone can enlighten
me (without saying it's to do with lack of support because that applies
to everything until it becomes a de facto standard).

Incidentally, you could drop the "Go to" and the "web" parts of your
link titles because they are implicit. You only need "Page content" and
"Site menu".


Dr. Mark Magennis
Centre for Inclusive Technology
National Council for the Blind of Ireland
Whitworth Road, Dublin 9, Republic of Ireland

<EMAIL REMOVED> tel: +353 (0)71 914 7464