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RE: Access Keys for Hyperlinks on Web Pages for the Visually Impaired

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 11:28:11 -0500
To: "'Rinit Satishkumar Shah'" <shahr3@cs.man.ac.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <011901c5e15c$c2d24c50$6601a8c0@bosshog>

Rinit Satishkumar Shah wrote:
> Hello,
> I am a student in the department of Computer Science, University of
> Manchester studying for my B.Sc in Computer Science with Business and
> Management. I am currently in the middle of my dissertation
> (supervised by Dr. Simon Harper) for which I am developing an
> extension to Mozilla Firefox to enable access keys to be displayed
> for every web page.     
> 

The debate on the pros and cons of accesskeys is, by now, well
documented.  While there *are* arguments for using them, on balance I
believe that they can in fact cause more harm than good, and say so
every chance I get.  Should you care, we have written extensively on the
topic at WATS.ca.  I urge you to at the very least give the arguments
some serious consideration:

	Using Accesskeys - Is it worth it?: 
	http://www.wats.ca/articles/accesskeys/19

	More reasons why we don't use accesskeys: 
	http://www.wats.ca/articles/accesskeyconflicts/37

	Accesskeys and Reserved Keystroke Combinations: 
	http://www.wats.ca/resources/accesskeysandkeystrokes/38  

	Link Relationships as an Alternative to Accesskeys: 
	http://www.wats.ca/articles/accesskeyalternatives/52

	The Future of Accesskeys: 
	http://www.wats.ca/articles/thefutureofaccesskeys/66

It is also worth noting that Accesskeys are being deprecated in XHTML 2,
in part, I believe, because of the very issues we discuss above.

> 
> Questionnaire
> Below is a brief description of what access keys are.
> 
> 
> An access key allows a computer user to immediately jump to a
> specific part of a web page via the key board. This is particularly
> useful for an environment that does not use a mouse or other pointing
> device. Currently, most websites do not take into account for these
> keys and make it extremely difficult for users in a non pointing
> device environment to use the web site. The extension to the web
> browser that I am in the process of developing will allow access keys
> to be generated automatically for every web page.  

And are you sure that there will be no keystroke conflicts in this
"auto-generation" process?  Currently there are very few keys that
remain unclaimed by one process/application or another.
     
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Before you read the above description, did you know what access keys
> are (YES or NO)? 
> 

Yes 

> 
> Do you want access keys for all web pages (YES or NO)?
> 

No

> 
> Do you currently use access keys (YES or NO)?
> 

 No

> 
> If available, would you use access keys (YES or NO)?
> 

Not sure

> 
> 
> How would you like access keys to be displayed?
> 
> 
> Any other comments?
> 

See above

> 
> 
> Please specify your age range: a) 16-24
> b) 24-40
> c) 41 +
> 

40+

> 
> 
> Please specify your gender: Male or Female
> 

Male

> 
> Please specify whether you are a) Sighted
> b) Visually impaired
> c) Partially blind
> 

Sighted
Received on Friday, 4 November 2005 16:28:24 GMT

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