accessibility

How to Disable Links

The topic of disabling links popped up at my work the other day. Somehow, a "disabled" anchor style was added to our typography styles last year when I wasn't looking. There is a problem though: there is no real way to disable an <a></a> link (with a valid href attribute) in HTML. Not to mention, why would you even want to? Links are the basis of the web.

At a certain point, it looked like my co-workers were not going to accept this fact, so I started thinking of how this could be accomplished. Knowing that it would take a lot, I wanted to prove that it was not worth the effort and code to support such an unconventional interaction, but I feared that by showing it could be done they would ignore all my warnings and just use my example as proof that it was OK. This hasn't quite shaken out for me yet, but I figured we could go through my research.

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The Document Outline Dilemma

For the past few weeks there has been lots of talk about HTML headings in web standards circles. Perhaps you've seen some of the blog posts, tweets, and GitHub issue threads. Headings have been part of HTML since the very first websites at CERN, so it might be surprising to find them controversial 25 years later. I'm going to quickly summarize why they are still worth discussing, with plenty of links to other sources, before adding my own opinions to the mix. If you're up-to-date on the debate, you can jump straight to the "Bigger Dilemma" section.

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