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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist ucahg's Avatar
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    Navigation before or after main content?

    I am currently starting a template with a clean slate and I want it to be as accessible, usable, and standards-compliant as I can make it. That said, I'm not sure what I should do at the fork in the road I am facing.

    Should the content be before the navigation or after (in the source code, the layout can go either way via CSS-P)?

    I've heard after because (in the case of a screen-reader) no one wants to hear the navigation every page.
    But what if they need to use those links? Wouldn't they want to hear them first and have the option to skip them? Or do screenreaders have a skip-to-link functionality built-in, so halfway through the content they can find their way over to the navigation?

    I'm not really too experienced in these areas, so if you can help me out, many thanks go to you!

  2. #2
    Rabble Rouser bronze trophy
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    From what I can tell, accessibility nuts want both first. It's recommended that if you have your navigation first that you provide a link before it to skip directly to the content ('cause that's where the user wants to be) and if your content is first provide a link to skip directly to the navigation ('cause that's where the user wants to be.)

    My recommendation - if you are able to put your content first, excellent. If not then try to keep your list of navigation links small so it's not too painful to hear them each time you turn the page.

  3. #3
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    i've seen some examples (like http://www.meyerweb.com/) that have a "skip to site navigation" link at the top and then dive right into the content. content first, i think, is best. better for SEO and probably better for folks that use screen readers (so then don't have to listen to a bunch of links and stuff right off the bat).
    check out eric's site (the link above) with NN4 if you have it... "degrades" very gracefully and is still totally accessible/useable.


    // e
    clever sig file

  4. #4
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    as has already been pointed out, there's two schools of thought really: navigation first, with a skip nav link to go straight to the content, or content first, and then using CSS to move it visually before it. both are valid methods, imho. the CSS one may give you more flexibility, as you can then offer alternate styles (nav left, nav right, nav top or something)...but then again, you can use method one (nav first) and still use CSS on top of that to position it further.
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist ucahg's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice , I think I'll stick with the navigation after the content.

  6. #6
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    As long as the headings follow a logical order, and you have a good tabbing index order then that is half the battle completed.

  7. #7
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucahg
    Thanks for all the advice , I think I'll stick with the navigation after the content.
    I hope you are still open for one more suggestion.

    Please be so kind and have a look at this article, before you take any further actions:

    http://infocentre.frontend.com/servl...article&id=150

    Thanks and good luck!!!!

  8. #8
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    If you place the "Skip Navigation or to Content" link before the logo, the users of Screen readers would not need to hear everytime the logo alt tag (your company name) when they browse to other pages of my site. On the other hand the users could not be sure if they are still on your web site.


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