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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

The skip-link target should exist and be focusable

Updated: Jul 8


At Loud Interactive, we're committed to ensuring that digital accessibility is at the forefront of website design and development. During our SEO audits, we look for and attempt to identify an area of improvement related to the implementation of skip links on web pages, specifically concerning their target elements being focusable. We feel it is crucial to enhance the usability and accessibility of websites for users with disabilities. Here's a breakdown of the issue, its significance, how to fix it, and where to find more resources.


Explanation of the Issue: Skip links are essential for users who rely on keyboard navigation, allowing them to bypass repetitive navigation links and jump directly to the main content. However, for these skip links to be effective, their target elements must be focusable. If the target isn't focusable, the skip link might not work as intended, making navigation cumbersome for users relying on keyboard or screen readers.


Why It Matters: Accessibility is not just about compliance; it's about inclusivity. Ensuring that skip links work correctly is vital for providing a seamless user experience for all visitors, including those with disabilities. It's especially crucial for blind users, users with low vision, and those who navigate using assistive technologies. Ignoring this aspect can lead to a frustrating experience and may even cause users to leave the site, affecting both reputation and SEO rankings.


How to Fix the Issue:

  1. Verify Skip Link Targets: Ensure that the target of any skip link is focusable. This typically means it should point to an element with a tabindex or an inherently focusable element (like a button or a link).

  2. Correct Placement: Place skip links at the top of the page, immediately after the opening <body> tag, to ensure they're the first element encountered by screen readers and keyboard users.

  3. CSS Visibility: Avoid using display: none or visibility: hidden to hide skip links. Instead, use off-screen positioning that becomes visible on focus. This approach keeps the links accessible to keyboard users while maintaining the visual design for mouse users.

Implementing Best Practices:

  • Use proper HTML and ARIA attributes to ensure visibility and focusability.

  • Consider employing JavaScript to enhance functionality for browsers where native handling of skip links might be problematic.

Further Resources: For a deeper dive into creating and managing effective skip links, we recommend the following resources:

  • Deque University: Offers comprehensive courses on web accessibility, including how to implement skip links correctly. Learn more about skip navigation links.

  • W3C WCAG Guidelines: Provides guidelines on web content accessibility, including techniques for creating skip links. G1: Adding a link at the top of each page.

  • axe-core GitHub: Contribute or follow the developments in accessibility tooling. Contribute to axe-core on GitHub.

By addressing the focusability of skip link targets, we not only adhere to best practices in web development but also advance the accessibility and usability of our web content. At Loud Interactive, we're dedicated to ensuring that our websites are accessible to everyone, reflecting our commitment to inclusivity and excellence in digital marketing.

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