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scripts that remove focus from links during document navigation

From: Hallvord R. M. Steen <hallvord@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 14:34:38 +0200
To: public-webapi@w3.org
Cc: F.Valkenburg@wanadoo.nl
Message-ID: <op.temvv0j9a3v5gv@hr-opera.upc.no>

Opera has a serious usability problem for keyboard- and device-users when  
pages do the following:

<a href="" onfocus="this.blur()">

This coding is very common because IE adds a small outline border to  
focused links. Authors who do not like this will blur links when they are  
activated to avoid this cosmetic issue. (Mea culpa: I've done exactly this  
myself in sites I coded as a newbie, for that very reason.)

In Opera, when keyboard navigation hits this link, focus is removed. Thus  
the link can not be activated from the keyboard and navigation may have to  
start from the top of the document again.

We need some prose in a spec that allows a user agent to ignore blur() for  
accessibility reasons. This text has been suggested by Fabian Valkenburg:

'scripts must not alter focus-related issues in a way that hinder keyboard  
operation, and user agents may override any such use of focus-related  
scripting operations.'

I'm not sure what spec to put it in, and we've also discussed possible  
collateral damage if sites use this in legitimate ways. Thoughts?

Hallvord R. M. Steen
Core QA JavaScript tester, Opera Software
Opera - simply the best Internet experience
Received on Monday, 21 August 2006 12:31:46 UTC

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