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Fwd: XHTML 2 Draft Recommendation: the @key attribute

From: Anne van Kesteren <fora@annevankesteren.nl>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 11:51:58 +0100
Message-ID: <20051118115158.ytjesdzi2xogkogc@webmail.annevankesteren.nl>
To: www-html-editor@w3.org

This seems more like a comment to me...

----- Forwarded message from mel.pedley@gawds.org -----
    Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 04:06:27 +0000
    From: Mel Pedley <mel.pedley@gawds.org>
Reply-To: mel.pedley@gawds.org
 Subject: XHTML 2 Draft Recommendation: the @key attribute
      To: www-html@w3.org

I would like to add my support to the arguments John
Foliot has raised on:


In the notes accompanying


it has been suggested that:

"Author-defined key bindings are a requirement of many
members of our user community."

I can only conclude that the author's 'user community'
differs greatly from the user community that I have worked
with. I have personally *never* encountered a single user
who was in favour of such author-defined key bindings - let
alone felt that they were a user requirement. Most feel
that these bindings are forced upon users (whether they
want them or not) in a manner that often completely
disregards the serious conflicts they can cause.

I should like to take this opportunity to point out that,
for some years, I actually favoured such an approach under
the mistaken assumption that key bindings (accesskeys)
offered significant navigational assistance for some users.

However, after listening to the arguments against
accesskeys, I finally got around to *asking* the users for
their opinions.

"I don't use them..."

"They vary from site to site, and I'd have to a) learn
whether a site has them, b) what they are on that site."

"...they would need to offer *additional*
functions to standard keyboard shortcuts or be an
additional way to access keyboard functions, not be a
replacement for them."

"The site should be designed in such a way as to not break
standard keyboard shortcuts."

All of the above arguments against author defined
accesskeys can be equally applied to the proposed @key
attribute. Nice idea, in theory but, in reality, at best, a
complete waste of time and, at worst, a positive and
significant hinderance to effective web usage.

The notes on http://hades.mn.aptest.com/cgi-bin/xhtml2-
issues/Role?id=7809 also mention:

"The working group agrees that the end users should be able
to override key bindings, but authors must be able to
define them."

Does the working group really believe that the average user

has the technical ability to over-ride key bindings? Must
users of assistive software now have to increase their
learning curve yet further by learning how to dismantle the
barriers created by authors?

And since when did the words "author" and "must" belong
together in a discussion about possibly over-riding the
default behaviour of *users'* software?

Until web authors understand that they must fit in with
users and not vice versa, large sections of the potential
user community will remain disenfranchised by a medium that
has tremendous potential to empower them. The
implementation of @key will simply continue this rather
shabby tradition.

I would earnestly request that the working group seriously

Mel Pedley

Guild of Accessible Web Designers

----- End forwarded message -----

Anne van Kesteren
Received on Friday, 18 November 2005 10:52:06 UTC

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