“Skip to Landmarks and Headings” can be installed in Chrome or Firefox by visiting their respective extensions websites:
The “Skip to Landmarks and Headings” extension was developed by members of the Accessible IT Group, Disability Resources and Educational Services, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Skip to Landmarks and Headings” extends the [Chrome/Firefox] browser by identifying and providing navigation to the ARIA landmark regions and HTML section headings (h1–h6) of a web page. The extension provides a menu divided into two groups: (1) the important landmark regions and (2) an outline of the heading structure of the page.
The keyboard shortcut for opening the menu is alt+2 (or option+2 on macOS) and cursors keys can be used to navigate the menu. Activating a menu item scrolls the item into view and moves keyboard focus to the corresponding section of the page.
“Skip to Landmarks and Headings” provides a means for people using the keyboard to efficiently navigate to specific content on the page. The outline of headings provides an easy way for people to view the topics on a web page without having to scroll through the entire page.
Press alt+2 (or option+2 on macOS) to open or close the “Skip To” menu.
Use the following keys to navigate through the menu items:
- arrow down, arrow up: next or previous item
- page down, page up: eight items forward or backward
- home, end: first or last item
- m: ‘main’ landmark
- n: next ‘navigation’ landmark
- s: next ‘search’ landmark
- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: next heading of that level
Skip To Options
The “Skip To” extension options allow the user to configure the number of heading levels used to create the headings outline. The benefit of limiting the heading levels is to make the outline shorter and easier to scan for topics of interest.
There is an additional option to limit the list of headings to only those contained within the ‘main’ landmark region. In well structured pages, the ‘main’ region contains the most important information on the page; limiting headings to the ‘main’ region makes it easier to identify topics of interest by filtering out headings in other parts of the page.
Keyboard Navigation and WCAG Bypass Blocks
The “Skip To” extension implements a long standing browser accessibility requirement to implement keyboard navigation to landmark regions and section headings based on the W3C WCAG Success Criteria 2.4.1 “Bypass Blocks” requirement and the W3C UAAG Requirement 9.9 “Structured Navigation”.
Many people with disabilities cannot use a mouse or touchpad to navigate the content of a web page and they typically rely on only using the keyboard for operating the browser. However, the built-in keyboard support in browsers is limited to the Tab key for navigating to links and form controls.
The “Skip To” extension adds additional keyboard support for navigating the landmarks and heading structure using the keyboard, a major improvement for accessing the non-interactive content of a page.
The “Skip To” menu includes an outline of the heading structure of a page for all users to view and use for page navigation. The outline provides a convenient way for users to get an overview the content of a page without having to scroll through the entire page.
The outline makes the actual sections and subsections of the page visible, which is often difficult to see when just viewing the graphical rendering of a portion of a web page. It also provides an easy way for web page authors to check the heading structure of their page to make sure they have properly identified the section and subsection topics on the page.
Benefits to Screen Reader Users
Screen readers have built-in functions to separately view the landmark regions and headings of a page, but the “Skip To” extension provides additional benefits. By providing a unified and filtered list of the most frequently used landmark regions and top level headings, the screen reader user has access to much shorter lists of items to read in order to get to the most important parts of the page.
“Skip to Landmarks and Headings” is open source software and the code can be found at the GitHub SkipTo Extension repository.