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Possible problem in HTML 4.0 specification for access keys.

Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 11:15:44 -0700
Message-ID: <37712450.A3D481E1@Sun.COM>
To: www-html-editor@w3.org
The HTML 4.0 specification contains the following text:

	In this example, we assign an access key to a link defined by 	
	the A element. Typing this access key takes the user to another
	document, in this case, a table of contents.

  	<P><A accesskey="C" 
      	Table of Contents</A>

	The invocation of access keys depends on the underlying system. 		For
instance, on machines running MS Windows, one generally
	has to press the "alt" key in addition to the access key. 
	On Apple systems, one generally has to press the "cmd" key
	in addition to the access key. 

The problem with this statement is that, if "C" is defined as an
access key as in the example, there is a conflict with what a
browser would normally do: "cmd C" on Apple systems is used by all
applications to mean "copy".  Netscape and Internet Explorer
follow this convention.  If the browser's default takes precedence,
then the accesskey won't work if activated by the "cmd" key as
described in the HTML specification.  If the ACCESSKEY specification
overrides the browswer, then the browser does not comform to the
user interface guidelines for MacIntosh programs.

I'm not sure if the description in the HTML 4.0 specification needs
a minor change or if there is a problem in general: one would not
want to have to produce different versions of an HTML 4.0 file,
depending on the browser.  Picking accesskeys so as not to
collide with keyboard shortcuts used by various products is 
awkward given multiple operating systems, windowing systems,
and browsers, each with different conventions.

Received on Wednesday, 23 June 1999 14:16:24 UTC

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