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"accesskey" - Techniques open issue

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 11:08:37 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

As we were wrapping up the Techniques document for WCAG 1.0 we resolved 
that, "There most likely will be usability issues [with accesskey], but we 
will not be able to cover them in this initial release of the document. 
Therefore, this remains open to be discussed for the next version."

We have released a working draft of the Techniques document (on 9 March 
2000) and need to release a public working draft in the near future.  Thus, 
it seems wise to clean up open issues from the Techniques document.

Here are the issues with accesskey.  This text is from the Techniques open 
issues list [1].

"accesskey" example
Issue raised by: Josh Krieger - 22 Jun 1998 and again by Gregory Rosmaita 
on 1 October 1999.


The example places the "accesskey" attribute on the LABEL element 
associated with the form control. Is it appropriate for the LABELs to have 
"accesskeys" or should the controls have them?

Does "accesskeys" introduce or create any usability issues? For example, 
should this be a UA thing or should authors continue to create?

What about pages that have too many elements to have unique accesskeys, is 
this poor design? Should the form be broken up onto different pages?
Are there implications on future versions of HTML?

How do users know which elements have defined accesskeys?

Further discussion

Some of the User Agent issues have been discussed on the User Agent mailing 
list.  Refer to Gregory Rosmaita's post from 1 October 1999.  Whereas Josh 
raises the issue about accesskeys within content conflicting, Gregory 
discusses that sometimes there is conflict between the content accesskey 
and the user agent shortcut key (alt+v is the example he uses).  Gregory 

as an interim kludge, authors could be encouraged (via the WCAG as an 
"until user agents support..." clause) to provide a link to a page which 
lists the accesskeys for the current page.  Example of a page that lists 
accesskeys.  (note: the accesskey for the link to the accesskey legend is k)

Cynthia Shelley posted a test file with DIVs, accesskeys, and tabindex on 4 
May 2000.  Gregory Rosmaita's results from interacting with the test file.

Resolutions for 1.0
There most likely will be usability issues, but we will not be able to 
cover them in this initial release of the document. Therefore, this remains 
open to be discussed for the next version.

Proposals for 1.0 revised Techniques document
None at this time.

Also, I began creating a test page [2]  to  answer Josh's question about 
the accesskey on the LABEL vs. on the form element.  It is my intention to 
send this to the WAI IG for discussion.  Note that this also will test if 
labels are associated with form elements across table cells if a "for" 
attribute is specified.


[1] http://jigteam.w3.org/WAI/GL/wai-gl-tech-issues.html#accesskey
[2] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/tests/keyboard-access.html
wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
madison, wi usa
tel: +1 608 663 6346
Received on Thursday, 8 June 2000 11:03:23 UTC

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