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ACCESSKEY

From: <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2001 16:01:52 +0200
Message-Id: <200104051401.f35E1qX01737@zidane.inria.fr>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


>HTML 4.0 standards, 17.11.2 is very clear on how to do this. What is 
>happening is there appears to be a limit as to how many references 
>can be put on a page. I think the sentence in this standard of -> 
>"An access key is a single character from the document character 
>set."<- is the problem and hope someone out there can tell me how to 
>code for more than 10 and/or more than A-Z (single character?) 
>references.

Actually, you may use any Unicode character. This of course poses 
practical obstacles: Pretty much no one using a U.S. English Windows 
keyboard will know how to type a  or a  as an accesskey (and even 
very few Mac users will know). But if your page were in French, maybe 
 or  would be a suitable accesskey.

You can use punctuation, because those are Unicode characters. 
Period, comma, semicolon, backslash (especially), plus all the items 
seen on the Shift positions of the numerals on a U.S. keyboard will 
work.

I have never run into a browser that supports accesskey that was 
case-sensitive. Technically they should be, or should be if there are 
two accesskeys defined that differ only by case. In practice, you 
have 26 (not 52) letters, ten digits, and a few punctuation marks.

>Is there any way I can have a user jump down to link #48, for 
>instance, without having to tab one by one by one down the page each 
>time to finally get to #48? This will be a pretty high visibility 
>web site so what I do "wrong" will probably be noticed.

Mmm, not really. You can use the tabindex feature, but it is not 
nuanced enough to let you skip in an exact order like this:

Main section 1
Main section 2
Main section 4 [notice we bypassed Main section 3]
	Subsection 1
	Subsection 2
	Subsection 20 [bypassing 3 through 19]

If that were possible, you could cut down the number of keypresses by 
coding thing so that pressing Tab takes you to main sections first, 
and then navigates within them (if, say, you pressed Control-Tab or 
waited five seconds). While convenient, this is impossible at present.

What you can do is place anchors <a name=""></a> around your main 
sections and provide navigation links <a href="#"></a> *to* those 
main sections *within* your page. It's a bit of a pain, though, and 
doesn't do what you really want.

>We ran the page through JAWS (alt, 31, Enter) and JAWS will not read the
>#31, it reads three then stops and takes me to the location for the
>hyperlink coded as ACCESSKEY="3".

Accesskeys are *single* characters. Tabindexes can be a number up to 
five digits long, if memory serves (and need not be consecutive-- the 
order 1, 2, 900, 12000, 12001, 65000 is effectively the same as 10, 
11, 12, 13, 14, 15).

>Alternatively, is there a screen reader, Browser or any vehicle I can
>reference for the user to use if they want to have this feature - keep
>the code going down the number scale because there is at least something
>out there that will be able to execute it?

Some Windows IE browsers let you type accesskes. iCab on Macintosh 
does, and actually displays what the keys are. (Look at some of my 
sites in iCab, like the AccessiBlog 
<http://www.joeclark.org/accessiblog.html>, for examples.)

You know what would really solve this problem? If browser makers quit 
sneering and simply *numbered all the links on a page*, as Lynx does. 
Then every link would be individually addressable. (I say "sneering" 
because a Microsoft operative told another list-- Browser and Screen 
Reader?-- a few years ago that such would be a trivial addition. He 
made it sound like something trivial to program must be worthless.)

- -- 
         Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
         Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
         (New Riders Publishing, October 2001)
         <http://joeclark.org/book/> | <http://joeclark.org/access/> 
Received on Thursday, 5 April 2001 10:01:58 GMT

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