January 30, 2023
 min read

Does EVERY web page need a bypass block?

But first, what is a bypass block?

A bypass block, sometimes referred to as a skip link, is a button that people can use to quickly move past content that they've already seen on previous pages, like navigation bars. A sited user can easily glance over a  navigation bar on each page without having to interact with it, but for someone using assistive technology, they are required to interact with this content each time they navigate to a new page which can slow down their progress.

Does every page with a header need a bypass block, no matter what?

I have asked myself this question periodically for the past couple of months because a product I'm working on currently has somewhat of a repetitive navigation bar. In this product each page has a fixed header with a title that periodically changes along with a language selector. Tabbing through this navigation is fairly simple, as only the language selector receives focus before landing on the page's main content. This made me wonder whether a bypass block was truly necessary.

When looking at success criteria 2.4.1, initially it appears there are no exceptions to whether a page needs a bypass block or not - Only that one is required if web pages have repeated blocks on content. Looking back at my product and it's header, yes, sometimes the content is repeated (i.e., the language indicator) and more often than not the page title changes, which could be helpful in setting context for the user. The one remaining question I have is whether the title in the navigation and H1 are essentially repetitive content. However, sometimes the H1 is omitted completely (which may be an accessibility issue itself) meaning the navigation title would be the only means for setting page context and we wouldn't want to make that skippable.

What are you thoughts? Am I interpreting this correctly?