Bookmark: "Skipping skip links"

Sebastian Greger


Such a refreshing take by Vasilis van Gemert: why do we make people “skip” over navigation links placed at the beginning of a page instead of putting them to the end and offer a “jump to navigation” link — skipping skip links, as he calls it?

I did some user testing with skip links a while ago. I didn’t intend to do this research per se, but I was observing people who use screen readers. […] To my surprise they didn’t use skip links when they were presented one. When I asked why, they asked me what they are for. They didn’t understand the purpose of these links.

His point is that the cognitive load of understanding what “skip to content” means is a lot higher than understanding a link that says “jump to navigation”. And as he summarizes his suggestion, it all makes a lot of sense to me:

So I would propose to skip skip links. It makes much more sense to start each page with the content people expect on that page. Right? And if you really need navigation (which is terribly overrated if you ask me) you can add it in the footer. Which is the correct place for metadata anyway.

Yet another example of the value in challenging established patterns, no matter how popular they may be.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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