Is page source order important to screen reader users? Recently, the idea of placing the informational content of a web page before the navigation has gained some currency. This paper reports on our research into the relevance and importance of page source order, skip links and structural labels for screen reader users.
My personal preference is to place the content before the navigation, but the study suggests screen reader and text browser users expect the navigation to appear first. Less experienced users seem to have a harder time with content appearing first, while the more experienced users don’t show much preference. One thing all test users do have in common, however, is that semantic, structural markup makes the web experience a whole lot easier. Worth a read.