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Style guide: request two agenda items.

From: Joseph Scheuhammer <clown@utoronto.ca>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 10:30:56 -0400
Message-ID: <4804BC20.5090909@utoronto.ca>
To: "Evans, Donald" <Donald.Evans@corp.aol.com>, "wai-xtech@w3.org" <wai-xtech@w3.org>


On behalf of the PFWG and the Dojo community, I am requesting two items 
be added to the agenda.  The PFWG wants a recommendation about keyboard 
access with respect to disabled widgets.  Dojo is looking into adding 
keyboard navigation to their DateTimeBox, and want some pointers.


At yesterday's (Mon Apr 14), teleconference, we discussed the problem of 
disabled, invalid, and required properties of widgets.  In particular, 
the issue of keyboard navigation for disabled composite controls such as 
a spreadsheet or a menu came up (yes, that old nut again).  The group 
decided to ask the DHTML style guide for a reommendation, and I 
volunteered to pass that request along.

Some background in this regard:  the main example discussed was a 
spreadsheet, and some thought that if the spreadsheet was disabled, then 
users could not arrow around the cells.  When asked how a blind user 
and/or screen reader would explore the composite, a proposal was that 
that the screen reader could be switched to "browse mode" for that 
purpose.  A couple of questions:  would that work in the case of a 
disabled menu?  Do all AT's have a browse mode; for example, does an 
onscreen keyboard have a browse mode?  And, in general, how should 
disabled controls be handled via the keyboard?


The latest dojo/dijit meeting brought up a question about key strokes 
for their DateTextBox widget.  An example can be found here:

Currently, keystrokes are confined to the text entry field of the 
DateTextBox.  Users cannot navigate the popup calendar view using the 
keyboard. (Becky has pointed this out to the group, in the past).  
Entering a date via keyboard is accomplished by typing a year, month, 
day and arrowing about that text string.

The style guide recommends a rich set of keystrokes for the date picker:

The questions that the dojo developers asked:
- is the style guide date picker month view a popup?  Or, is it a static 
component on the page? (I believe that answer is:  it can be either).
- if it is a popup, is it ever associated with a text entry field?

The style guide is neutral with respect to the last question.  This is a 
Good Thing (TM) in that it allows implementors to decide when, and where 
to provide a date picker.  That is, if a developer want to use it as a 
popup companion to a text entry field, then that's up to them.  But, if 
they do, the recommended keyboard access is as described in the style guide.

Keyboard focus and keystroke issues arise in the text entry field + date 
picker combination.  Where should focus go -- should it always be in the 
text entry field, or switch between the field and the picker?  What do 
arrow keystrokes do -- navigate among the characters in the text entry 
field, or among the dates in the picker?

A solution is to allow focus to switch between the text entry field and 
the picker, and then define the keyboard behaviour relative to where 
focus is.   As such, a date picker feels related to a combo box in the 
sense that there is (1) an editable text entry field in which to 
enter/edit values, and (2) a popup from which to select values.  Note, 
however, that the style guide for combobox does not specify any key 
strokes for the text entry field:


'This is not war -- this is pest control!'
      - "Doomsday", Dalek Leader -
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 14:31:43 UTC

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