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Re: Accesskeys, was: RE: User friendly 404s reconsidered

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 11:54:20 +0200
To: "Jesper Tverskov" <jesper@tverskov.dk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.tdai4ujwwxe0ny@widsith.lan>

On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 08:22:50 +0200, Jesper Tverskov <jesper@tverskov.dk>  

> I agree with John Foliot that the HTML accesskey attribute has been and
> remains a disaster. It is so badly specified in the spec that it is fair  
> to recommend not to use it.

The spec is not too clever. However, it was very badly implemented  
(following not just the things that seemed to be requirements, but also  
the thing that looks like an informative suggestion) which is what has  
caused problems.

Opera's[1], Konqueror's[2], iCab's[3] and to some extent Amaya's[4]  
implementations avoided the major problem (silently changing the  
functionality of the browser). Mozilla will apparently improve [5] their  
accesskey setup, changing the accelerator, in version 2 or so. The  
XHTML-MP world generally get this right, although they only reliably work  
in limited circumstances [6]. Unfortunately Microsoft's current plan [7],  
as so often, is to give more control to the author, without changing the  
functionality at all - bad luck to keyboard users of IE7 I guess.

> I do believe that access keys to links in webpages could make navigation  
> a lot easier. The main target is interestingly enough not people with
> disabilities but close to half the internet users in many countries
> accessing the Internet using a notebook.

The main target is probably mobile phones. Anyway, there are a lot of  

> I do believe that access keys to links in web pages are not an author
> problem but a user agent problem. The browsers should implement something
> like the "Find as you type" feature in Firefox with two modes: "text" and
> "links", and some accelerator key to choose between the two.

In Opera the text mode is typically assigned to . or / and the links to ,  
for find-as-you-type

[1] http://my.opera.com/chaals/blog/show.dml/281880
[2] http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdebase/konqueror/accesskeys.html
[3] http://icab.de - can't find the documentation there, but they have a  
nice implementation so long as you have the right keyboard
[4] http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/browsing/about_access_keys.html (it isn't  
perfect, but they recognised the problem)
[6] by following what is described in  
[7] http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/06/30/652785.aspx



   Charles McCathieNevile, Opera Software: Standards Group
   hablo español  -  je parle français  -  jeg lærer norsk
chaals@opera.com          Try Opera 9 now! http://opera.com
Received on Wednesday, 26 July 2006 09:54:30 UTC

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