I've been working on a framework called Layered Semantic Markup for I guess a few years now. While I spend most of my time considering the Structural Layer (Content, aka HTML) and the Presentation Layer (CSS), there is a third layer: Behavior Layer (scripts and the DOM). Having stable and appropriate Content and Presentation layers are helpful before one can appropriately address the Beharior Layer, which is why I've spent my time as I have.

A foundational idea of Layered Semantic Markup is Accessibility (and not just in the Section 508 of Accessibility for indivisuals with disabilities). Content should be accessible to ALL. Content should be available without Presentation. Presentation should be available without Behavior. In other words, each can only reach their potential (and some would argue bare minimum) if they are isolated and independent.

I don't want my snazzy Javascript DHTML behaviors (which makes my navigation more efficient to desktop computer users) to make my navigation unusable to cell phone browsers. With a nod to "One man's treasure is another man's trash", what's good for one user may be detrimental to another.

With this in mind, take a look at this great tutorial on how to write an Unobstrsive Behavior Layer, or as the author brands it, "Unobtrusive Javascript .

Javascript is a wonderful tool to enhance the usability of web sites. It is the extra layer above the mark-up 'what is this text' and the CSS 'how should it be displayed'. Javascript adds a new dimension, the 'how should this element behave'.

On the following pages we will discuss and see how we can use Javascript, but still maintain accessibility. The technique to completely separate Javascript from the other two layers of web development has become commonly named 'unobtrusive Javascript', as 'accessible Javascript' does not quite cut it. You can have a perfectly separated Javascript and still be totally inaccessible.

Hat tip to little. yellow. different's mini-blog.


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