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RE: Accesskeys

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:52:45 -0700
To: "'Oscar Cao'" <oscar.cao@live.com>, "'WAI Interest Group'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <0fae01cfef2d$34f434a0$9edc9de0$@ca>
Hi Oscar,


Some of that fuss was documented by Derek Featherstone and I in the early
2000's, which showed many of the flaws with accesskeys (See:
<http://john.foliot.ca/using-accesskeys-is-it-worth-it/> Using Accesskeys -
Is it worth it?,
<http://john.foliot.ca/more-reasons-why-we-dont-use-accesskeys/> More
reasons why we don't use accesskeys,
Accesskeys and Reserved Keystroke Combinations, and
Link Relationships as an Alternative to Accesskeys for archived versions of
our findings and thoughts from back then).


With the work being done around HTML5, the Accessibility Task Force of the
HTML5 Working Group at the W3C have started at looking at accesskeys again,
with an eye to improving how they operate, and essentially re-thinking
through the entire approach to author declared keyboard short-cuts.  As
recently as *today*
(http://www.w3.org/2014/10/23-html-a11y-minutes.html#item06) the topic was
discussed on our weekly conference call, and work is underway (lead by
Chaals McCathieNevile - https://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Accesskey)  to
re-energize accesskeys and get them figured out correctly. (Note, if you
have thoughts or other input you want to contribute, I know Chaals is very
open to feedback.)


The current state of the state however is not much different than what it
was back when Derek and I reported our findings, and today using accesskeys
should be reserved for only the rarest of occasions -  for example
data-input screens where operators are repeatedly interacting with the same
interface over a prolonged period of time. In those situations, and after
careful testing to ensure there are no keyboard conflicts between the web
application and any AT that may be used by the group of operators, adding
keyboard short-cut navigation can benefit those users with a faster, more
streamlined navigation model.


For 'garden-variety' web sites (where the majority of users may only visit
no more than a handful of times) I think not adding accesskeys is probably
the better choice: the miniscule gain potential hardly out-weighs the
problems that accesskeys may still introduce today.




John Foliot
Web Accessibility Specialist
W3C Invited Expert - Accessibility 

Co-Founder, Open Web Camp





From: Oscar Cao [mailto:oscar.cao@live.com] 
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 5:46 PM
To: 'WAI Interest Group'
Subject: Accesskeys


Hello All

What's the current take on accesskeys?
I know a few years back people made a big fuss about them. But don't see
them in newer sites and not even on the W3C sites.

Should we still include accesskeys or drop them altogether?


Sent from my Windows Phone
Received on Friday, 24 October 2014 01:53:38 UTC

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