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Re: activation / focus and users Re: Access Key

From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@uiuc.edu>
Date: Tue, 01 Oct 2002 10:49:55 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: WAI Cross-group list <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML WG <w3c-html-wg@w3.org>

The other advantage of only moving focus is that if the same accesskey is 
used multiple times on a page focus can move sequentially between the form 
controls or links.

The HTML spec [1] seems to indicate that links should be automatically 
activated.  But the two implementations of accesskey Internet Explorer 5.0+ 
and Netscape Navigator 6.0+ differ on their interpretation.  IE only moves 
focus and NN moves focus and activates the link.  Each technique has its 
own advantages and disadvantages, but I think it would be better for the 
user if browsers were consistent, and therefore the feature more 
predictable for end users.  But I guess this is a mute point since IE and 
NN both do something different.  I doubt either will change their 


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/interact/forms.html#adef-accesskey

At 11:27 AM 10/1/2002 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>What kind of users are we talking about here?
>It seems there is a consensus that there are some users for whom the focus
>then activate sequence is an important safety feature - people using
>primarily voice interaction, who may not remember all the access keys, people
>who are likely to bounce on keys by accident.
>My own case is different - I have a problem with overuse of my hands, but I
>can (normally) see a lot of information presented visually and it is rare
>that I hit the wrong key, or am surprised by what happened if I did. I
>believe there are a number of people in related situations (I know a handful
>personally) who appreciate the efficiency of the direct activation method
>above all.
>I presume there are people who are somewhere between the two - in some
>circumstances they appreciate the efficiency, but in other cases they want to
>use the safety feature. (This is also relevant to Jonny's comment about
>triggering focus events)
>Can anyone help provide more data about the user scenarios they are
>On Tue, 1 Oct 2002, Jon Gunderson wrote (among other things):
> >
> >Accesskeys are important for allowing direct navigation to links and form
> >controls, especially web based applications that people use on a daily
> >basis.  When I use accesskeys I always provide built-in documentation to
> >what accesskeys are available in addition to the underlining technique of
> >the key letter in the link or form label.  We have developed a web based
> >database to keep track of disability services here at UIUC that uses
> >accesskeys and works very effectively to speed navigation for screen reader
> >users.  We have a internal link on each page to a list of the available
> >accesskeys on the page[1].
> >
> >My criteria for accesskeys:
> >3. I think moving focus is better than automatic activation (the IE rather
> >than NN way)
> >
> >Jon
> >
> >And at 10:14 PM 9/30/2002 +0200, Jonny Axelsson wrote (among other things):
> >
> >>Here is a collection of my opinions on accesskey.
> >>
> >>I would agree with Tantek on the effect of triggering an accesskey. 
> While it
> >>is more efficient to do actions with no confirmation, the risk of 
> triggering
> >>an accesskey accidentally, together with the possibility that the 
> action may
> >>be irreversible (like a POST or even a GET under some circumstances, or 
> some
> >>scriptable control), has convinced me that giving the element focus is the
> >>best and most predictable alternative.
> >>
> >>While there are conflicting opinions on whether keyboard navigation should
> >>trigger events (navigating using a keyboard would normally traverse all
> >>intervening elements on the way to the target, you would not want to 
> trigger
> >>those elements), accesskey should trigger a focus event. It is the keyboard
> >>equivalent to point and click (or rather point and mousedown).
> >>

Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
College of Applied Life Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL  61820

Voice: (217) 244-5870
Fax: (217) 333-0248

E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu

WWW: http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
WWW: http://www.w3.org/wai/ua
Received on Tuesday, 1 October 2002 11:44:14 UTC

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