The applications and designs of websites have become more complex over the years. Therefore, it is important that website designers and developers learn as much as they can about its ins and outs. Since many small and large businesses use their sites to ensure their customers have the best user experience possible, web designers across the world are tasked with keeping up with the latest and most modern techniques used in the industry today.
Thankfully, the web design world is constantly publishing and sharing guidelines that make websites not only more user-friendly but also with features that improve the navigation from one web page to the next. That being said let’s discuss a feature that many web designers are using to their benefit today. And that is the ‘skip to main content” links and how to create one.
First of all, you need to know that “Skip to Content” Links are invisible by default. In fact, most users are normally accustomed to using the point-and-click method to move around a web page like on this site. Therefore, they may not even notice a skip-to-content link on the page. Yet, these links are really crucial to the navigation process, particularly when a screen reader or keyboard-only users are navigating through larger and more complex sites.
Definition of “Skip to Main Content” Links”
Many of today’s websites are designed with menus that allow the user to navigate through the site for example this website. However, even though these menus can be used to point and click to the position on the page that the user wants to go through, they are not the best practices to use for some screen reader and keyboard-only users. This is primarily because these menus may also provide a poor user experience like here.
To eliminate this menu navigation parts of a site, this ‘skip to main content links’ are being added instead. For instance, to replace this type of design, this link is created for a number of reasons. Its main purpose is to skip directly to the main content instead of requiring the user to manually navigate from a menu. The skip-to-content link is akin to an ordinary link. However, it is positioned at the top before the main navigation menu.
This link is normally hidden from the user and only visible to the user when it is in focus.
The skip to content link has at least 2 primary functions, which are to:
- Improve the user’s browsing experience
- Eliminate the need to pass over all the menus to get to the main content.
How to Add a Skip to Main Content Link for Your site
Now that everyone is familiar with what a ‘skip to content link’ is and its primary functionality, here is what you need to know about creating these links on your website. To create the links that you need for your website, you can follow this example:
The code that you see below is simply a markup for the typical navigation menu. In the real world, the code that you create may actually be a lot more complex. For instance, on the site that you create, you may have nested menu items and additional top-level menu items involved. Therefore, the example code that you should is normally simple. Yet, many of the simplest codes can be used to create a more robust application for the sites that you are working on.
Skip to main content
When you review this code, you will see that the 1st element of the tag creates the skip-to-main-content link. This code is written primarily for both screen readers and keyboard-only users. Therefore, we need additional code to perform a variety of actions. For instance, you can use this HTML code to give to identify an absolute position and then translate it off the screen.
Creating ‘skip to content” links on your website does not have to be difficult today. Since there are examples of programs online that display how the code is written, you can customize the code to your specific needs and preferences. The code that you find can help you to create the basic functionality so that you make navigation easier for everyone.