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Re: advice about link activation keys

From: Joseph Scheuhammer <clown@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 00:38:21 -0500
Message-ID: <4F13B7CD.5060406@alum.mit.edu>
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
CC: Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, W3C WAI-PFWG <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>

Steve Faulkner wrote:
> Space or Enter executes the link."
> I don't believe that the use of space is a commonly implemented design
> pattern for link activation, do you have any data on which browsers
> implement such behavior?
That's not the correct question.  The keystrokes in the best practices 
guide are taken from the DHTML Style Guide [1].  The Style Guide's  
objective was to advise authors in terms of scripting their DHTML.  
There was no expectation that browsers implement the keystrokes; in 
fact, the group was formed because there was a lack of keyboard 
accessibility for DHTML widgets.  The guide was directed, rather, at 
toolkits such as dojo/dijit, jQueryUI, and so on.

As to why specifically SPACE for link activation, I can't remember. The 
group finished its work approximately two years ago, whereupon the 
keystroke model was copied to the Aria Authoring Practices Guide.  If I 
had to guess, I suspect it's because, for many widgets, SPACE is the 
keyboard equivalent of clicking on the widget with the mouse:  buttons, 
checkboxes, radio buttons, menus in a menu bar, menu items in a menu, 
and so on.

However, since it sounds like the common keyboard technique for links 
does not involve the SPACE key, I'll raise an issue within PF's tracking 
system, and see if there are any objections.

[1] http://dev.aol.com/dhtml_style_guide


'A: After all, it isn't rocket science.'
'K: Right. It's merely computer science.'
              - J. D. Klaun -
Received on Monday, 16 January 2012 05:39:42 UTC

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