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A common accessibility suggestion is to place navigation lists after content so that screen readers don't have to "plow" through a list of links before being able to read the content.
But a survey from Australia Source Order, Skip links and Structural labels found that screen reader users expect navigational elements to be read first on a page and are confused when they are not there.
What screen readers really want is a way to SKIP navigation (much as our eyes may glaze over the left sidebar), but they wanted to know they could get to them if needed (much as I tend to want a sidebar to be visible even if I'm not focusing on it). The good news is that the left hand navigation systems preferred by many sighted users are preferred by many screen reader users as well.
I wrote more about this in my blog at:
P.S. Pardon this duplicate posting, but I'm testing the system.