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When building a mobile web site that needs to be accessible — do you consider it to be best practice to include a "Back to top" anchor link in a footer menu for long pages?

I'm thinking about those people who surf with the keypad, if the page is long they need to hit the up-arrow button a lot to reach the menu again.

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Related question: Do people use jump to top of page links? Your question is a possible duplicate, although if you're focus for the question is purely accessibility rather than whether these links get used or not then I think it's distinct enough to be a separate question. –  JonW Jun 25 '12 at 9:55
    
Yes, that is correct. The question is about accessibility. –  Tony Bolero Jun 25 '12 at 9:59

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Having a "back to top" button shouldn't cause any usability problems in and of itself, so its presence only aids usability. Adding it is a no-brainer.

It's good practice for every long page, really (even on non-mobile sites). The only downside is having to figure out how to incorporate it into the design - but that's not generally a significant issue.

EDIT: I should note that Nielsen's objections to multiple methods of moving around in the page don't hold here, in my opinion. Mobile browsers typically don't have efficient methods of scrolling to the top of a long page, and further I don't have his issue with there being multiple methods of accomplishing a task.

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i like the approached used by Facebook (at least on the Android version I use). As you scroll upwards an arrow appears on screen over the content on the right hand side. Clicking it scrolls to the top. This works well as I've learnt to give the screen a flick to show the arrow then press the arrow to go to the top. –  Jay Jun 25 '12 at 9:59
    
JavaScripty, but good — probably requires absolute positioning? That can be pretty bad on mobile devices, for example, check out a CNet article on an iPhone –  Baumr Dec 14 '12 at 17:40

I would include it in the footer if the primary menu for navigation is in the header or the top only. You can not guarantee the mobile OS will support the double tap on the menubar to auto-return to the top (which iOS supports), so I'd add it to be sure.

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Let me correct you a bit: iOS supports single tap on the menu bar for scroll to top :) –  alexeypegov Dec 14 '12 at 20:27

You can either use 'back to top' or create a multi touch gesture to support fast scroll. In multi touch, you can see some example of HTC Sense. Hold one finger on screen and use other finger to fast scroll. Or to bring up the menu, use swipe gesture (swipe down from top of the screen).

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