[thelist] Tips/Tricks/Tidbits... what do you add?

Christian Heilmann codepo8 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 7 10:22:57 CST 2006

> Here are a few things I add to my site templates:
> <hr class="hide" /> (Used to seperate content for when styles turned off.)

That is well, superfluous, but OK.

> and:
> <ul id="accessibility">
>         <li><a href="#skipcontent" title="Go to content">Go to content</a> :</li>
>         <li><a href="#skipnavigation" title="Go to navigation">Go to
> navigation</a> :</li>
>         <li><a href="#skipsearch" title="Go to search">Go to search</a> :</li>
> </ul>

Don't get overboard with this. Only use skip links when they are
really needed. A skip link should prevent a screen reader or keyboard
user to have to navigate through a lot of links to reach the content.
4 skip links that are not the ones I need can be as annoying as a menu
that is in my way.

> and:
> <div id="oldBrowserNotice">
>         <h1>Notice:</h1>
>         <p>This site will look much better in a browser that supports <a
> href="http://browsehappy.com/" title="Download a browser that complies
> with Web standards.">web standards</a>, but it is accessible to any
> browser or Internet device.</p>
> </div>

This is just idiotic. It was needed when Netscape 4.x was around but
even then it got ditched soon enough as it sounds arrogant and is
really annoying for people who would love to have a better browser but
cannot upgrade due to company policies. "Who are you to tell me what
to install?" was a common retort to the browser upgrade campaign

> When the styles are turned-off, the above things appear, mostly for
> better accessibility.
> Just wondering what you do? I am not looking for just accessibility
> things... anything will do. Be it fun or be it whatever. :)

Simply don't. If something is good enough to be on the page, put it on
the page. A visible skip link circumventing your main navigation gives
a better sign that you do care about accessibility than any WAI badge
in your footer.

Any hidden content could be considered an attempt to spam search
engines, too, and if their robots are daft algorithms then you will be
punished for doing the right thing.

Accessibility is not about creating a special habitat for handicapped
people where they see things others don't, it is about taking the
extra step to also support these groups to improve the overall
product. If the improvement interferes with the experience of the
others in a brutal way (like alert() boxes in Ajax apps to make really
old screen readers aware of what is happening) then it shouldn't be
done either.

Chris Heilmann
Book: http://www.beginningjavascript.com
Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
Writing: http://icant.co.uk/

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