Landmarks extension: dynamism and skip-to-main

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accessibility, web, landmarks, at, webextension, html, firefox, chrome, and opera

The Landmarks browser extension just got a big update, so I thought I’d post a note about it. Since re-writing it as a WebExtension last year, I’ve solidified the 2.0.x series by including a test suite, using code quality tools and polished the UI, as discussed in a Paciello Group ‘blog article back in May. That work has continued, but now it’s time for some new features…

Dynamic landmarks and improved navigation

The new 2.1.0 release is able to detect changes to the landmarks on a page at any time. Previously, landmarks were found only when a page was loaded, or if the HTML5 History API was used to update the URL (this technique is used by web-apps like GitHub and YouTube to present distinct pages, with smooth and solid transitions between them).

Many pages—not just web-apps—use more dynamic techniques, though: from slide-out navigation panels to content that changes over time and landmark labels updated via scripts. Supporting these will hopefully make Landmarks much more useful to you.

A keyboard shortcut has been added to skip directly to the “main” landmark (either the <main> element or <div role="main"> or similar). This means keyboard-only users who don’t have a screen-reader can now make use of this helpful navigational feature.

What’s next?

First of all, please give this a go and let me know if you find any problems by filing an issue. Please also consider giving Landmarks a review via your browser’s add-ons/extensions store.

The next big feature to address will be making the highlihgting of landmarks clearer and more robust—that will be the focus of the 2.2.0 release.

Thanks to Carolyn MacLeod, fstorr and Heydon Pickering for feedback that shaped this release.

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