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[Bug 13555] New: Fixing keyboard shortcuts and commands

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 01:52:30 +0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-13555-2495@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=13555

           Summary: Fixing keyboard shortcuts and commands
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Keywords: a11y, a11ytf
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: gcl-0039@access-research.org
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org, public-html-a11y@w3.org


There is widespread agreement that keyboard commands in HTML have been
fundamentally broken for a long time and need to be fixed. This has many
aspects which will be discussed in subsidiary bugs. Examples include but are
not limited to expanding the range of available keybindings, allowing
components and the user to negotiate keybindings, allow retrieving keybindings
in automation-friendly format, and acknowledging that the user may need to
separate navigation from activation.

Some key concepts are:

1. Keyboard access and commands are a fundamental accessibility issue because:
(a) users with disabilities are much more likely to rely on the keyboard or
keyboard emulators, and keyboard conflicts can present them with insurmountable
barriers while being merely inconveniences for users who routinely use a mouse;
(b) users who cannot use a mouse often need to drastically increase the number
of shortcut keys in order to make tasks more efficient, especially people for
whom each keypress is time-consuming, tiring, or painful; (c) increased number
of shortcuts increase the number of potential conflicts; (d) users with some
cognitive impairments have more difficulty adjusting when their accustomed
methods suddenly fail to work, or when commands they use suddenly do something
unexpected; (e) many users find it difficult to memorize arcane key combination
and sequences, and the problem is magnified for users who rely on keyboard
commands, and may use or define large numbers of them, and are unable to use
mouse methods as a fallback; (f) badly written content can totally break
keyboard access, either accidentally or intentionally.

2. HTML introduces complexities for document authors and web application
developers beyond those for proprietary formats and native applications: (a)
many layers can define their own keyboard commands, including the primary
document or web app, scripts it loads, the primary user agent, embedded user
agents, user agent add-ins, and the platform on which the user agent is
running, and these run the risk of conflicting with each other; (b) documents
and web applications generally want to work with any host and platform, and a
wide range of user preference settings; (c) HTML needs to support assistive
technology in the form of user agent features as well as user agent add-ins and
external components that interact with the user agent; (d) HTML can restrict
the UI and interoperability of web-based content in ways that native
applications are not restricted.

3. Keyboard UI needs to be both universal (for every task and every user) and
usable (easy, efficient, reliable/predictable, and easily learned and
remembered). Keyboard UI needs to: (a) let the user do everything from the
keyboard; (b) let the user agent give the user flexibility and control over the
keyboard UI; (c) let the user work with multiple layers at the same time
without those interfering with each other; (d) let things adapt to keyboard
restrictions, conventions, and conflicts; (e) let users discover and be
reminded of keyboard UI.

4. Keyboard commands include access keys (e.g. S or Alt+S to activate the
content's Send button, or Alt+F to activate the browser's File menu) where the
user agent is generally trying to emulate behavior of the platform, hotkeys
(e.g. Ctrl+S to trigger the "save" action, Ctrl+Shift+S to trigger the "save
as" action, or Command+C to trigger the "copy" action), as well as basic
keyboard commands (e.g. tab key, arrow keys, character keys to insert text or
select an item starting with character, etc.). Keyboard techniques include
navigating, selecting, and triggering actions, and can be sequential, direct,
structural, spatial, or textual.

These and other concepts are discussed at
http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/work/wiki/Keyboard_Concepts_for_HTML5_Discussion.

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Received on Wednesday, 3 August 2011 01:52:32 GMT

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