[html5] <nav> for external links?

Jukka K. Korpela jukka.k.korpela at kolumbus.fi
Tue Apr 26 21:18:01 PDT 2011

Micky Hulse wrote:

> Based on what I have been reading around the net, the <nav> should
> only be used for internal site linking. Is this true?

That seems to be the general idea, though it is not explicitly said at

Perhaps it avoids the words "internal site linking" due to the vagueness of 
the "site" concept or due to the implied meaning of "navigation" as 
something internal to a site. Either way, the formulation is somewhat 

The crucial question, I think, is "_why_ whould you use the nav element?" 
And I think the main answer is implicit, or partially expressed, in the note 
"User agents (such as screen readers) that are targeted at users who can 
benefit from navigation information being omitted in the initial rendering, 
or who can benefit from navigation information being immediately available, 
can use this element as a way to determine what content on the page to 
initially skip and/or provide on request."

What I mean is that a nav element is something that could be hidden when the 
user wishes to concentrate on the content proper and ignore any navigation 
for the moment _and_ could be brought up and highlighted, maybe even in a 
separate window or interface, perhaps hiding all content proper for the 
moment, when the user wishes to navigate. This would allow toggling between 
"content mode" and "navigation mode", so to say. So it might be seen as an 
abstraction of the common paradigm of having a "nav menu" on the left and 
"content area" on the right, so that the placement (visual or in markup 
order) of the navigation area(s) is not essential and may vary.

> I am building a template for a 3rd-party site which takes on our
> site's branding... Unfortunately, the links have to be absolute in
> order for users to get back to our main site.

I was lost here... what was the 2nd party? And why would the template have 
navigation that takes users from one site to another? I could imagine a 
template for, say, a localized version of the site of a worldwide company, 
with some of the navigation links pointing to pages in the localized 
version, some (perhaps most) pointing to the global site. But in that case, 
it might be seen as a single site with localized and non-localized parts. So 
a navigation link might point to a page on a different server, but if a link 
points to a page that is _logically_ outside the current (mega)site, then 
it's not a navigation link.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/ 

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