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Archive for the "Links" Topic

Using CSS Floats with Image Links

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Using CSS Floats with Image Links The use of CSS floats has been a common method for developers to position content on a web page. According to the W3C CSS 2 specification, section 9.5, “A float is a box that is shifted to the left or right on the current line.” Ensuring visual keyboard focus indication can be tricky for floated image links. WCAG success criteria 2.4.7 states that there must be a visual focus indicator on all active elements. Without a visual indicator of focus, sighted keyboard-only users will have difficulty identifying the focused element. Often, developers add CSS… Read More

Methods of Indicating the Purpose of a Link

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Methods of indicating the purpose of a link Overview The different methods of indicating a link’s purpose are often misunderstood and incorrectly implemented. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) explicitly require that link text accurately reflects the target and purpose of the link. While current Section 508 standards do not explicitly state this — many Federal Agencies in the US require similar practices under Section 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria. The harmonization of Section 508 as indicated in the US Access Board’s last Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANRPM) also indicates that link purpose will be explicitly required when Section 508… Read More

Why We Don’t Test Skip Links Automatically

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The other day a customer was evaluating AMP and asked a question about how we were testing for skip links. The question went something like the following:

We were evaluating AMP and performed an automatic scan of a test site. We noticed that the scan did not flag the issue “Provide a mechanism for skipping past repetitive navigation links” even though this clearly is a violation. This seems like a pretty glaring omission in the tool and something we would have expected AMP would have caught. Can you explain the testing method AMP uses, and why this might not have been reported?

Here was our answer:

Actually, SSB does provide an automatic test for link group detection and skip links in InFocus – the automatic testing engine provided in AMP. This link detection algorithm is quite advanced and is currently in patent pending status with the US Patent Trademark Office. By default, however, this test is disabled and AMP instead requires that users test conformance for this best practice as part of global system tests.

This raises a particularly interesting question – If your test is so great, why do you turn it off by default? As noted above, that would seem to be a glaring omission. The short answer to this question is that automatic tests for skips links – and this include our tests and those of our competitors – are unsafe and yield an exceptionally high number of false negatives. In practice this means that they falsely indicate a non-compliant page is compliant which is very dangerous. Given this, since 2006 SSB has opted to deactivate this automatic test and, by default, require a global test to be executed to validate the accessibility of a given page.

On the Accessibility of Links

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There are many in the usability community who regard accessibility as part of usability. I believe this to be a misunderstanding of accessibility. At its root, accessibility is aimed at removing barriers to the access of information and resources. When speaking to clients, I give them brick & mortar examples, such as dips in curbs, doors which open automatically, and elevators. Accessible web design, first and foremost, is removing technical issues which serve to act as a barrier to the information and resources contained within the site. For instance, a login system which uses an image-only CAPTCHA to verify the… Read More

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