The skip-link target should exist and be focusable

Rule ID: skip-link
Ruleset: axe-core 3.2
User Impact: Moderate
WCAG: Best practice

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact

Disabilities Affected

  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
  • Mobility/Dexterity

Requirement(s)

  • Best Practice

WCAG Success Criteria

  • Not specified or not applicable

Section 508 Guidelines

  • Not specified or not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure that all skip links in the webpage have a focusable target that allows users to skip the navigation.

Place the skip navigation link at the top of the page right after the opening body tag.

Use the following markup to add a skip link:

<div id="skip">
    <a href="courses/html-css/navigation/skip-navigation#content">Skip Content</a>
</div>

Unfortunately, WebKit based browsers such as Safari and Chrome have a bug that prevents same-page links from adequately working. Create a workaround for such browsers using Javascript. For a tutorial on how to fix this bug, see the Skip Navigation Links in the HTML and CSS Accessibility Course.

It may be tempting to hide the skip navigation link; it adds content to the page’s layout, and it might be confusing for people who don’t need it. If you decide to hide the skip-link, do NOT hide it using any of these CSS options:

  • Use CSS to permanently position the link off screen.
  • Set display: none.
  • Set visibility: invisible

Hiding the skip-link with CSS works fine for screen reader users, but this removes access to the link for sighted users who benefit from the skip link. Setting either display: none; or visibility: invisible; properties make the link inaccessible to everyone. The following two accessible approaches to deal with skip links are best practices:

  • Make the "skip navigation" link permanently visible
  • Use CSS to hide the link off screen until it receives keyboard focus to make it visible to all users.

To implement the CSS approach best practice to the markup above, include the following CSS code:

#skip a {
    display: block;
    position: absolute;
    left: -999px;
    top: -999px;
    }

#skip a:focus {
    left: 0;
    top: 0;
    padding: 3px;
    background: #ffc;
    border:1px solid #990000;
    }

You may also wish to consider adding more skip links for users to skip past repetitive content. Additional skip links are not always necessary, though it may be helpful in some cases.

Why this is Important

Screen readers announce content sequentially as it appears in the HTML file. What this means for users of assistive technology is that the content at the top of the page, typically including the entire navigation, is read out to the user before reaching any of the main content. Since content at the top of the page can often be very lengthy, it can be time-consuming to listen to or tab through all of it when the user is only interested in the main content. Including a skip link in an HTML page is beneficial to blind users, users with low vision, and mouse-only users.

Rule Description

The page must have a link at the top before the navigation that allows users to skip lengthy navigation and proceed to a page's main content to save time.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Ensures that developers follow the best practice of having a skip link as the very first link in a page

Resources

Other Resources

You may also want to check out these other resources.

Refer to the complete list of axe 3.2 rules.

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