Neutered Links: A.K.A removing the href attribute

There’s an old programming saying: Garbage in, Garbage out. This helps people explain why all sorts of things don’t work. Concentrate on using the best content possible if you want a successful product, web page, mobile app, or chocolate covered cream puff. I’ve seen a new inaccessibility pattern appear with links that are not keyboard accessible. This article will explain the problem, solution, and provides a helpful bookmarklet for finding these neutered links on your page.

The Basics

HTML, at its most basic, is a markup language that allows linking; within a document and to an external document. These links use the <a> tag. The early HTML standards defined two functions for this tag.

Placing an href attribute into the tag converts it to a link, which can take the user to new content. This also places the link into the normal tab flow and makes it clickable.

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Common Accessibility Mistakes with HTML and CSS

Here’s an older video of a presentation I gave at one of Yahoo’s Front End Engineering Summits. I discussed some of the common issues we still find in web sites, from the alt attribute to forms. You can find more videos like this on the Yahoo! Accessibility Lab’s YouTube Channel.

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Yahoo! Accessibility Lab code library

I haven’t been posting much to this blog for the past year. But that’s not because I’ve been lazy. I’ve been writing a lot of tutorials about creating more accessible web sites on the Yahoo! Accessibility Lab’s Code Library.

You’ll find some great resources for using CSS, basic HTML, JavaScript, and ARIA.


These articles are in the process of being moved to the Yahoo Developer Network blog for archiving. Please check there if the Code Library is not working.

CSS3 Gradient Backgrounds and Controlling Their Height

Let’s assume you want to create a gradient background that starts at the top of the page and finishes at the bottom of your page header, i.e. is 100px tall. You can do this with a combination of CSS3 rules and avoid those ugly background images.

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Yahoo! to downgrade IE6 in 2011

Yahoo User Interface LibraryYahoo! introduced the Graded Browser Support grid years ago to give developers a guideline on what browsers deserved the greatest amount of resources for debugging, hacking, and development. This has been well received amongst the developer community as a justification for not dwelling on obscure browsers, such as IE5.5 for mac. This has made our code cleaner and easier to maintain as the browser-specific hacks are no longer needed.

Yahoo just announced the GBS change we’ve all been waiting for. IE6 will be downgraded to a C-status browser in Q1, 2011. This means I can finally upgrade my own laptop to IE8! This means we can focus on building for the future and not the past. Excuse me as I hyperventilate over the joy.

Internet Explorer 6: We are forecasting the transition of Internet Explorer 6 from A-grade to C-grade in the next GBS update. The calculus here is simple: The proliferation of devices and browsers on the leading edge (including mobile) requires an increase in testing and attention. That testing and attention should come from shifting resources away from the trailing edge. By moving IE6 to the C-grade, we ensure a consistent baseline experience for those users while freeing up cycles to invest in richer experiences for millions of users coming to the internet today on modern, capable browsers. Note: This forecast should not be taken as an indication that IE6 users will see an abrupt change in their experience of Yahoo! websites in Q1 2011; the change in philosophy toward IE6 will be reflected in new development and products and applied in ways that make sense based on product needs.
Graded Browser Support Update: Q4 2010 – Eric Miraglia and Matt Sweeney, Yahoo! Developer Network