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Accesskey Re: <span> within a word any issue for screen readers?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 23:20:04 +0100
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.s24tnqqnwxe0ny@pc063.qadoc.oslo.opera.com>

(Cue message a little later from my good mate John Foliot...)

On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 22:07:05 +0100, Patrick H. Lauke  
<redux@splintered.co.uk> wrote:

> Geoff Deering wrote:
>> Yes, I agree.  The accesskey is assigned to the A element, the SPAN is  
>> just serving as a non structural element as a visual indicator that  
>> there is an accesskey assigned to that link.  It's following the GUI   
>> standards of assigning accelerator keys to menuing functions.
> Is this not something that should be left up the user agent to implement,

Absolutely. In addition, the user agent may re-assign because the key  
suggested is not available - for example where you have alif, aleph or  
alpha rather than "a", or the key assigned may already be used for  
something else.

> I fear that advocating use of span to underline accesskeys is moving us  
> back towards using markup for presentation.

Worse than that, it is using markup for presentation based on an  
unworkable admixture of behaviour. Accesskey is a wonderful thing, but if  
you use an implementation model that interferes with everyday system  
functionality (such as the alt+key+press'n'pray implemented in IE and  
Netscape/Mozilla) then you are likely to want something like Gez Lemons'  
nice work, or UBAccess' tools, to make sure that it doesn't get in your  
way - by reassigning the keys.

In many cases "rel" should be used instead, if necessary with an  
appropriate profile attribute present. This allows the browser to offer a  
predictable and helpful behaviour to the user. Relying on a particular key  
or combination being available is as bad as relying on a mouse being  
available - especially in a world where more browsers are on telephones  
(with maybe 10 or 12 keys) or PDAs (with maybe 3 or none) than there are  
on the desktop.

Slowly browsers are solving the problem of mouse-based event triggers. It  
seems reasonable to hope for a usable implementation of accesskeys next.  
And part of that is making it clear (as the Last Call for WICD starts to)  
that that authors deciding what keys will be available is just a bad idea  
in the real world.

Not to put too fine a point on it :)



Charles McCathieNevile                     chaals@opera.com
   hablo español  -  je parle français  -  jeg lærer norsk
      Peek into the kitchen: http://snapshot.opera.com/
Received on Monday, 9 January 2006 22:20:14 UTC

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