Source order and mobile users

One of the most important and least noticed facts about CSS layouts for sites meant for mobile users relates to source order. The elements of a web page—header, main content, sidebar, footer, and other such divisions—can be written in the the HTML in any order and laid out anywhere on the page using CSS. This means the main content div can be first in the HTML source in many layouts.

For mobile users who may be viewing a page without the help of CSS, seeing the main content first can save considerable time and many clicks to get to the relevant part of a page. If you look at this page with CSS turned off, you will note that the links at the top of the page are first in the source order. One of my goals in adapting this page for mobile users would be to either 1) use CSS to put the links last in the source order while still displaying them on the page under the title graphic, or 2) put a skip navigation link at the beginning of the list of links that would let a mobile user jump right to the first blog entry.

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