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RE: Part 2 - Access Keys - your collective help is urgently reque sted!

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 15:49:46 -0400 (EDT)
To: Access Systems <accessys@smart.net>
cc: WebAIM forum <webaim@mailservice.cpd.usu.edu>, W3c-Wai-Ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0210031547011.11182-100000@tux.w3.org>

Hi John and all...

Actually I don't think I can help much. I don't get to play with enough
technology to say if something is going to be used, I would take a different

Don't override things that are reserved by Windows. (I love access keys, but
I use a Mac and iCab which makes all the keys on the keyboad available
directly - Windows tends not to allow this)

Look for things that are only used by assistive technologies that have two
modes - I think JAWS and Window-eyes do this - so that at least people have a
mechanism of getting to the accesskeys, rather than things that are reserved
all the time in a particular browser.

I would try to avoid overrunning Opera - as I understand it that is
particularly popular among people who have keyboarding problems but find a
keyboard easier than a mouse - and this is one of the groups who are really
going to appreciate accesskeys.

If you still can, go for something mnemonic. And as Jukka and Bob pointed
out, you can't rely on people using the same keyboards - having keys that are
close together is helpful for some and a pain for others anyway.

Ideally people would have browsers that would remap keys to something that
was available - in a system that handles XSLT this should be fairly easy and
it probably is in javascript too.

It is a fair expectation that many people who rely on accesskeys will have a
better-than-average understanding of how to get to them in their browser, but
it is also true that many people who would benefit from them probably don't
even know about them.

Finally, anyone interested in this topic and where it is going might like to
follow the following threads on the public wai-xtech list:


Just my two cents worth


On Thu, 3 Oct 2002, Access Systems wrote:

>On Thu, 3 Oct 2002, Jukka Korpela wrote:
>> John Foliot wrote:
>> > My research shows that currently about the only safe
>> > combinations still
>> > "un-reserved" by an adaptive technology or other software are:
>> > 	"Alt+/" (accesskey="/"),
>> > 	"Alt+\" (accesskey="\"),
>> > 	and "Alt+]" (accesskey="]")
>> I have some bad news.
>> No, I don't know any Web browsing related software that has those accesskeys
>> assigned in its own interface. Though I wouldn't be surprised if someone
>> found one.
>> But in any case, two of those accesskeys don't work for me at all, and I'm
>> pretty sure many people share this problem. On my (standard Finnish)
>> keyboard, and probably on _most_ keyboard layouts in the world except some
>> English layouts, the characters "/", "\", and "]" do not appear as primary
>> keys but require extra operations to get produced. For me, "/" is Shift 7,
>> and Alt Shift 7 actually works (on browsers supporting accesskeys). But "\"
>> and "]" are Alt Gr + and Alt Gr 9 respectively, and I can't make them to
>> work together with Alt. If I try Alt Alt Gr +, I get just the \ character
>> inserted if I'm in a text input field, otherwise nothing happens.
>even in the same country there are different keyboards, for example I use
>the Dvorak keyboard in US English.  however the "/" "\" "]" keys are in
>different places compared to the QWERTY keyboard that is more common, then
>there are the one handed keyboards etc.
>trying to find an unused key stroke set is a good idea but being the cynic
>I suspect it may be a futile effort
Received on Thursday, 3 October 2002 15:49:49 UTC

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