Web design - Common navigation

Make sure that the user easily navigate within page and more generally in the website

Target: everyone and especially people with visual impairments, cognitive limitations or attention difficulties.
When: when designing the service and during graphic design.

The links texts and buttons texts should be explicit enough.
In exceptional cases when it is technically impossible, provide a explicit label that can be read only by screen reader (and other assistive technologies).

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Avoid dialogues and opening new windows #

Target: elderly people, people with cognitive or visual impairments or using a device outdoors.
When: as of design and in the development.

Avoid as much as possible the actions that open a new window (or a new tab) of the browser. If a link triggers the opening of a new window, you need to ensure that the text “new window” is vocalized by screen readers programmatically. So that visually impaired people know that a new window has been opened.

Also avoid the systematic use of dialogues to display information in the pages (presentation of service…).
They must be reserved for important information that requires immediate attention and remain small.

These modal windows or pop-in often cause accessibility problems for people who navigate with a keyboard or a screen reader, and they will require special attention during the development phase.

In the example below the use of a dialogue is not justified. Using a standard web page would:

  • allow more space to the content (by removing the margins around the dialogue),
  • allow the “back” button to go back when navigating between pages of the dialogue,
  • make the display on small screens easier,
  • avoid accessibility problems for people who navigate using the keyboard or using a screen reader,
  • reduce the weight of the page and improve loading time, as in this example the page behind the dialogue box must be charged.

screenshot of a dialogue way too big

Target: useful for mobile and tablet users, people with visual impairments, motor disabilities or using a device outdoors.
When: as of the design phase and in the development.

Provide skip links such as “Skip to content” on each page. It facilitates navigation for people using the keyboard, using a device outdoors or with a screen reader. In very specific cases, the links can be hidden on the screen and appear only when keyboard navigation is detected.

Skip links (“Skip to navigation”, “Skip to content”) are available on this site.
To make them appear, move the focus on the top of the page by clicking on your browser’s address bar, for example, then repeatedly press the TAB key.

screenshot of the orange.com site

Allowing control of animations #

Target: people with visual impairments, reading/attention/understanding difficulties and seizure disorders.
When: when designing the service and during graphic design.

All moving, refreshed or flashing content must provide a way to be stopped, paused or hidden by the user, i^f this animation last more than 5 seconds.
Also, avoid as much as possible flashing content and sudden brightness changes (see The logo of the Olympics causes seizures).

screenshot of a carousel with a button to pause the animation

A carousel that automatically scrolls must be paused when the mouse is over it or when it receives the focus.
It is also possible to add a “pause” button directly in the interface.

Explicitly locate the page in the site and provide several ways to access it #

Target: everyone, especially people who are visually or cognitively impaired.

When: when designing.

Give the user several ways to locate and access specific content, locate the web page being viewed in a set of pages. When the page is a step in a process where the pages follow one after the other, this criterion can be ignored.

Make sure that several systems allow you to locate and access a page or content in the site: a search tool on the entire site, a site map, a global navigation menu, a breadcrumb trail ...

The site offers, at the same time, a complete and precise main navigation and a breadcrumb trail.

An application provides a parcel navigation menu and no other way for the user to navigate the pages or locate where the current page is in the tree.