The other day a customer was evaluating AMP and asked a question about how we were testing for skip links. The question went something like the following:
We were evaluating AMP and performed an automatic scan of a test site. We noticed that the scan did not flag the issue “Provide a mechanism for skipping past repetitive navigation links” even though this clearly is a violation. This seems like a pretty glaring omission in the tool and something we would have expected AMP would have caught. Can you explain the testing method AMP uses, and why this might not have been reported?
Here was our answer:
Actually, SSB does provide an automatic test for link group detection and skip links in InFocus – the automatic testing engine provided in AMP. This link detection algorithm is quite advanced and is currently in patent pending status with the US Patent Trademark Office. By default, however, this test is disabled and AMP instead requires that users test conformance for this best practice as part of global system tests.
This raises a particularly interesting question – If your test is so great, why do you turn it off by default? As noted above, that would seem to be a glaring omission. The short answer to this question is that automatic tests for skips links – and this include our tests and those of our competitors – are unsafe and yield an exceptionally high number of false negatives. In practice this means that they falsely indicate a non-compliant page is compliant which is very dangerous. Given this, since 2006 SSB has opted to deactivate this automatic test and, by default, require a global test to be executed to validate the accessibility of a given page.