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How skip links can help with website accessibility

Sean Needham avatar
By Sean Needham

What are skip links?

Ideally, a skip link is the link that gets focus on a page when you hit the 'Tab' key on your keyboard. Hitting the 'Enter' key afterward will bring the user directly to the main content section on the page. 

skip_link_example

Skip links are a means of bypassing blocks of content that is repeated on multiple web pages. Examples of repeated blocks of content are navigation links, heading graphics, and advertising frames.

Skip links are used as a method of meeting WCAG 2.0 Criteria 2.4.1: Bypass Blocks.

Providing a skip navigation link enhances the accessibility of your website page. This improves the website experience for visually impaired users and those using screen readers.

Users who only have keyboard-access will also benefit as they have more direct access to the content. Skip links reduce keystrokes, therefore minimizing the difficulty of accessing content.

How might I know that there is an issue on my web page?

If an accessibility Criteria 2.4.1: Bypass Blocks warning has been flagged by Siteimprove then the first focusable link on the page is not a skip link.

In this case, we suggest you investigate the page in question to determine if it meets the criteria in another way.

For further information see the W3C resource “Adding a link at the top of each page that goes directly to the main content area”.

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