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Re: Rethinking "Skip to Content"


From: reply-to:to:subject:in-reply-to:mime-version:content-type:content-transfer-encoding:references;
Date: Dec 8, 2004 6:44AM

This is one of the reasons why there needs to be more user research
and testing to give flesh to the WCAG guidelines. While we can all
offer arguments as to why one or another approach to wording might or
might not be a good idea, the only real way to know is to test it with
people who rely on these links.


On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 11:14:33 -0500, intern.wincog wrote:
> Thanks to all who answered my questions about EX and EM.
> Now I'd like to share something I've been thinking about regarding screen
> readers and the "Skip to Main Content" (and its many variations) link. There
> was a discussion here recently about how, exactly, this should be phrased. I
> have a different idea on this, and would like some feedback.
> The word "skip", whether used to imply bypassing a specific something, or
> simply moving past a general something to something else, seems more
> confusing than helpful. It seems to me that, to an individual using a screen
> reader, a link helping them "skip" or "skip to" something has less meaning
> than a link that helps them simply "Go to". Because different sites are
> structured so differently, "skipping" isn't quite consistent. One knows well
> enough what one is skipping in the case of a "Skip Navigation" link, but
> what is one skipping to? And, in the case of the link "Skip to Content",
> what, exactly is one skipping over? "Skip over navigation to main content"
> seems to give a decent explanation of what is going on, but there's still
> this skipping business.
> My other problem involves the assumption that all visitors will want to read
> the page content first, especially when the structure of a page lists the
> content first (hence no "skip menu" link). I have read countless accounts of
> studies where folks using screen-readers wanted content first, but I image
> that there are many folks, especially repeat visitors with a particular
> destination or area in mind, who want to get right to the menu.
> 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".
> I know that many screen readers allow a user to jump from one link to the
> next, which might make this a minor point. But if I am correct in my
> assumptions, it also seems a small thing to do to make browsing the web that
> much clearer.
> Since I don't have access to a screen reader, I have had to do a lot of
> reading up on them and use a lot of my imagination in figuring out how they
> will render my pages. Therefore, I am very interested to know what others
> with more experience think.
> Best Regards,
> Dagmar
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