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RE: ACCESSKEY attribute

From: M. T. Hakkinen <hakkinen@dev.prodworks.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 14:03:21 -0500
Message-ID: <01BD3AE3.AD7735A0.hakkinen@dev.prodworks.com>
To: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "rjsteffe@ux5.cso.uiuc.edu" <rjsteffe@ux5.cso.uiuc.edu>
We've been looking at how to deal with the ACCESSKEY in webspeak. Because 
we are aware of the platform, we can announce the correct modifier.  The 
determination of how the access key modifier (Alt or Cmd) is presented 
should be less a job of the content author and more a function of the 
browser or screen reader.    In our case, the browser will announce the 
modifier and accesskey for elements which have them defined.

When to use access keys is a great question.  I think they make sense in 
frequently used web forms or pages, especially when it allows the user to 
jump from section to section of a lengthy form. Being able to activate 
buttons and selectors like radio buttons is useful, but the user won't 
generally know they are there until having explored the full page or they 
can recognize that the page follows some form of standardization (e.g., S 
for activating the Search button, for english pages).

As for choosing appropriate accesskey codes, this seems an age old problem. 
 The old rule for me has always been mnemonic selection codes and operating 
environment standards whenever possible and practical.    Arbitrary, 
alphabet lists or numeric selectors don't aid general usability.  There was 
a great paper on selectors by Gary Perlman from the early eighties if you 
want a reference. In certain national language environments, Japanese, for 
example, mnemonic selectors may not be practical and numeric or alpha 
selectors need to be used.

One problem that concerns is me is how to handle conflicts between keys the 
browser and or user may have defined in their environment.  Which takes 


-----Original Message-----
From:	Jon Gunderson [SMTP:jongund@staff.uiuc.edu]
Sent:	Monday, February 16, 1998 12:45 PM
To:	w3c-wai-gl@w3.org; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc:	rjsteffe@ux5.cso.uiuc.edu
Subject:	ACCESSKEY attribute

Does anyone have a good design example of how to use the ACCESSKEY to
increase the accessibility of a page.  I am working on a project to create
some accessible WWW based educational technology and our group has been
trying to figure out how to use the accesskey feature to enhance
accessibility.  Some of the problems we are facing with the access key is
the need to explicitly state the presence of the access key in the
document, but different Browsers may require different modifier keys to use
the access key.  For eample in MS-Explorer your need to type ALT-S for
ACCESSKEY="S", and on some other browser it may be something else like
Ctril-S or just S by itself.  So you just can't tell people to type S or
Another issue is consistancy, does anybody have any ideas on how to assign
keys so people can learn when to expect an access key?

Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Voice: 217-244-5870
Fax: 217-333-0248
E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
WWW:	http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
Received on Monday, 16 February 1998 14:07:47 UTC

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