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Re: Regarding ARIA drag and drop?

From: Joseph Scheuhammer <clown@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:19:17 -0400
Message-ID: <53236445.5040502@alum.mit.edu>
To: Bryan Garaventa <bryan.garaventa@ssbbartgroup.com>, James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
CC: public-pfwg <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Hi Bryan,

Your example has resurrected misgivings I've had about keyboard-based 
drag-and-drop.  What follows might seem as an attack on your work.  It 
isn't; I'm using it as a springboard.

Specifically with respect to your example:  if the goal is to move books 
from the shelf to the shopping cart, then I would add a button or 
context menu to each book icon that allowed the user to move it to the 
cart with one gesture.  That button/menuitem would be accessible to 
mouse, touch, or keyboard depending on the device.

The sequence of TAB to focus, ENTER to grab, TAB to drop target, ENTER 
to release, etc. is awkward.  At least, I find it so.  As a user, once I 
have focus on a book, and I know I want to purchase it, why can't I 
simply indicate that with one keystroke (or mouse click, or touch, or 
voice command)?

With respect to my misgivings:  drag-and-drop is essentially a 
GUI/pointing-device sequence of gestures.  Trying to mimic that process 
using a series of keystrokes is misguided if it's the first or only 
attempt at a keyboard alternative.  The UI development should begin by 
focusing on what the user is trying to accomplish and use that as a 
guide.  In the context of your example, it's a matter of moving books 
between the book shelf and the shopping cart.  That should be the 
starting point:  what simple, intuitive gesture(s) can accomplish that 
goal?  I don't think the whole ARIA drag-and-drop keyboard machinery is 
needed here.  And, for other contexts, while it might turn out that it 
is appropriate, that should be the outcome of the design, not the 

End of rant.

Otherwise, your example is an interesting exploration of the issue. It 
feels like a lot of work and research -- thanks for posting it.


'A: After all, it isn't rocket science.'
'K: Right. It's merely computer science.'
              - J. D. Klaun -
Received on Friday, 14 March 2014 20:19:45 UTC

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