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Accessibility dilemma
Need to come up with a clever solution...

 11:42 am on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

From W3C Accessibility Guidelines 1.0:

[w3.org ]

13.4 Use navigation mechanisms in a consistent manner. [Priority 2]

Fair enough, I have a page layout with a number of article excerpts on the page and beneath each excerpt there is a "Continue Reading...?" link to the full article. Thereby ensuring consistency.

However, there is also:

13.1 Clearly identify the target of each link. [Priority 2]

This also sounds straightforward enough. But in the W3C notes on links
([w3.org ])

it elaborates on item 13.1:

"Do not use the same link phrase more than once when the links point to different URLs."


There is a get-out...

"If two or more links refer to different targets but share the same link text, distinguish the links by specifying a different value for the "title" attribute of each A element."

So I added an individual title tag to each of the "Continue Reading...?" links.

But Bobby doesn't recognise this.
Okay, so Bobby isn't infallible and its authority is not infinite.

Should I go with the title tags and smile patiently at Bobby in this instance, or is there a better way to solve the dilemma?



 12:03 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

They are just Guidelines and not rules, and as you've said Bobby is not infallible!

I find that there is no substitute for human testing. Then you get the real picture!


 2:38 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is Bobby failing you or just presenting a warning?


 2:47 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bobby fails you if you use two or more identically phrased links which point to different pages. It does not check to see if those links have title tags to differentiate them.

I think this is an oversight on the part of Bobby - it is something that could be checked automatically by the Bobby parser, and the option of using title tags is itself recommended by W3C on the link I gave above.

So, should I just keep applying title tags to my identically phrased links and wait for a Bobby update?


 3:07 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, should I just keep applying title tags to my identically phrased links and wait for a Bobby update?

Definitely. The important thing is that your page is accessble, not that the validator says its accessible.

Accessibility validators are not like HTML validators - with the latter, either the page meets the specifications or it doesn't. With the former, the validator can only compare your page to a set of limited guidelines, and it is up to you to make the final decision, taking into account unmeasurable items such as color contrast, etc.

What does the Cynthia Says validator say for your page?


 4:10 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's strange, just the other day I was faced with exactly the same trouble. I posted my doubt in another forum and I was answered that in spite that this approach may be valid or invalid, in any case it would not easen the web use of a person using a screen reader as it would force an odd navigation.

The thing went like this (as I remember): When the software ends reading the list, the user decides that he'd like to read number second and three, that talked about... er... let me see... The links provide no real information about their content...

I do not say that I share fully this logic. I am just showing it.

However, after that I decided to change my list to make the Titles clickable links and I erased the "for more info..." ones.

I may change my mind againg, though ;)


 4:15 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

How about:

<a href='wherever.html'>Continue Reading...?</a>

Changed to:

<a href='wherever.html' title='Continue reading <article title>?'>Continue Reading...?</a>


 4:48 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

PCInk> Yes, exactly. That's what I've changed it to and I'm not sure, but I would think the screenreaders probably read the content of the title attribute... so it ought to be okay, no?

encyclo> No, it fails Cynthia Says as well:

Rule: 13.1.2 - All Anchor elements are required not to use the same link text to refer to different resources.

She doesn't check for titles in the anchor tag either.


 8:21 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

To me, in my blissful ignorance, the main obstacle to apply this accesibility recommendations is that people who develop web sites are as blind to accesibility issues as people using screen readers are when surfing the un-accesible web.

This is, there is no easy access for web designers to screen readers so what happens is that when you build a site you have to imagine how the heck the screen readers would perform. But you have no easy way to really know that. To me, that's a bit of a catch-22.

I find it a bit odd that open source folks and non gubernamental organizations do not make an effort to develop and push an open source screen reader that would work in most common platforms (Win / Mac / Linux) with a simple sound card. I think that would help to enforce accesibility much more than piles of recomendations.

But, may be I am wrong and there is already that wonder out there...

Is it?


 11:18 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a good idea. It had never occurred to me that there might be some shareware / freeware screenreaders around... I thought they all cost thousands of dollars.

I had a quick hunt on the web and found a piece of software called (intuitively enough) ScreenReader.

There's a basic free version available to download at:

[texthelp.com ]

(Mods, please delete if unacceptable).

I don't want it taking up resources, but I'll download it and give it a spin and see how it handles titles in anchor tags.


 11:43 am on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Windows XP has one under accessibility on the accessories menu in All Programs.

It's rubbish - but ok for testing.


 3:48 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

hehe... I tried that already, but it was too rubbish.


 11:41 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

there are quite a few freeware/shareware screenreaders around...the big problem is that they seem to be as quirky as any other web browser...I generally go for a belt and braces approach to accessibility...the more options you offer the better the chance that at least something will work

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