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Skip Navigation

The ability for users to bypass blocks (or in this case, a set of links) is often provided by a skip navigation link. Typically, this link is available at the very top of a web page. It allows users to quickly reach the main content on the page. Ideally, this link will become visible to keyboard users who tab to it, even if designers choose not to make it visible to everyone.

Site visitors may not take advantage of the ability to "skip" navigation/content when they first come to your site; however, frequent site visitors will soon want the opportunity to save time and avoid having to listen to sets of links that appear on every page.

Who Does Skip Navigation Help?

  • People with a physical disability who use the keyboard to navigate can activate the skip navigation link to skip over long lists and sub-lists of navigation and page header information.
  • People who have a print-related disability and who use a screen reader can activate the skip navigation link to prevent the screen reader from reading navigation and page header information.

What Does Skip Navigation Mean?

The skip navigation link can be visible to everyone, invisible to everyone (except for screen reader users), or invisible until it receives keyboard focus.

How to Check

If you have made your skip navigation links available only to screen reader users, you will need to test with a screen reader to be sure the links will "jump down" on the page so that the user can begin reading where expected. If, on the other hand, you have made your skip navigation links available to keyboard users, you can tab to the link, assure that it has focus and adequate contrast, and then activate it with the enter key. Again, be sure you land where you intend that your site visitors will.

Target Audience: 
Designer
Developer
Last modified: 
April 22, 2015