Source order, skip links and structural labels

Flickr: Refreshable Braille device in actionLate last year Roger Hudson, Lisa Miller and I did some research into source order, skip links and structural labels.

The results were presented at Ozewai in December 2005, and the Ozewai podcast was then made available in the WSG site.

Now, the full report has just been released – Source Order, Skip links and Structural labels.

On Source order:

“There appears to be little evidence to support the view that screen reader users would prefer to have the content presented first, or find sites easier to use when this occurs.”

On Skip links:

“The wide range of screen reader options for accessing page content means that many experienced users of these technologies do not need to use skip links. But for less experienced screen reader users, it seems clear that many are likely to find skip links a useful device for moving directly to specific sections of the page.”

On Structural labels:

“The inclusion of structural labels seems to be an effective and relatively simple solution to the significant problem some screen reader users have in identifying the different elements on a page.”

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Date: 17 January 2006
Author: Russ Weakley
Category: Accessibility, Articles, CSS
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Comments so far

  1. Leon Dwyer says:

    I’m always trying to make my websites better.’
    But I am confused I’m not sure you are using an established tern or have made one up “Structural labels” What are these are you talking about form lables? please give an example as I have search around for this tern even on w3c.org and can find know reference to it.

    good addressability practice would would imply that if you are introducing a new tern or concept that you would insert a link to a definition or example!

  2. Russ says:

    Maybe try the previous post on this site called “About structural labels”.

  3. Hi Russ, thanks for sharing these findings with us. Roger posted a link to the report to the W3C WAI mailing list to which I replied. I also posted my reply to the accessify forum where this report was also mentioned.

    While I agree with your recommendation about clearly labelling parts of a site via headings (structural labels) I do not agree with your conclusions about source order which, in my view, are not supported by your findings. My response to Roger is available at accessify fourm: http://www.accessifyforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=32551#32551