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RE: General Input Model

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 09:20:42 -0400
To: "Leonard R. Kasday" <kasday@acm.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001501bfa2ef$92e61960$53fe330a@msde>
Dear Len,

I think you are correct.  I guess that is part of what I am rebelling
against:  that rather than being "device independent/neutral", focus really
has been defined to mean "keyboard focus".  This is a shame.  Is it
unrealistic to hope that if there is an HTML 4.02 (I am guessing that there
will NOT be) that this would get corrected?

> Also (now don't laugh) there can be interfaces with two pointing devices.
> There was work on that at Xerox Parc some years back
> I believe, for two handed interfaces which were really rather cool.

That sounds very intriguing.  After all, when at a physical work bench, most
people use two hands -- so why not two mice!

Seriously, this could be a significant improvement.  I don't know about you,
but my computer workstation was apparently designed for someone with THREE
arms.  I keep two hands poised over the home row of my keyboard and my third
hand rests on the mouse.  Very efficient.

Bruce B.

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Leonard R. Kasday [mailto:kasday@acm.org]
  Sent: Friday, April 07, 2000 5:13 PM
  To: Charles McCathieNevile; Bruce Bailey
  Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org; jpledger@mindspring.com; Marjolein Katsma
  Subject: General Input Model [was: Seeking guidance...

  After looking at Charles' response and thinking about what he and Bruce
are saying, I've got a  proposal for a more general concept of focus. (which
is probably not original... see the P.S.)

  First point: "focus" is really keyboard focus.  "mouseover" is really
mouse focus.

  Here's why.

  What does it mean for a object to get what we call "focus"?  It means it
will respond to keypresses on the keyboard.  So a better name would be
"Keyboard focus".

  And what does it mean for an object to get mouseover?  It means first of
all that the object will respond to a keypress on a key on the mouse.  (I
mean the actual buttons on the mouse, not their keyboard equivalents).  So a
good name would be "Mouse focus".

  Now you might say there's more to mouseover that just mousefocus... it can
trigger some other event like a popup.  But the same holds true for keyboard
focus.  For example, receiving keyboard focus could trigger a prompt
appearing somewhere (which I haven't noticed on the web, but which I
remember from dumb terminal interfaces in the late 20th century).

  So "focus"     is really   keyboard focus and
     "mouseover" is really   mouse focus

  They are strictly analogous and independent.

  So we need a way to change mouse focus independently of keyboard focus.
And without actually moving a mouse.  For example, we could define "mouse
tab index" for element which would step mouse focus through all elements
with those indices defined.

  Furthermore, we should keep this general.  Current computers mostly have
just two independent devices with keys... a mouse and a single keyboard.
But you could have, say, an extra numerical keypad, and I could imagine
situations where it would be convenient for the keypad focus to be different
from the focus of the main keyboard.

  Also (now don't laugh) there can be interfaces with two pointing devices.
There was work on that at Xerox Parc some years back I believe, for two
handed interfaces which were really rather cool.

  So there we have it:  we need a general concept of   focus(device) where
device can be one of some arbitrary number of devices.  Some devices may
have keys... others would not.  And it must be possible to move any of the
focuses independently to any object that responds to them, and with or
without vision.


  Now that I've said all this I have a distinct feeling of deja vu... that
I've just reconstructed an old input model... maybe an old SunOS ...except
that I've added the need for a keyboard equivalent... if someone recognizes
this please speak up so we can give it it's proper name...
Received on Monday, 10 April 2000 09:24:01 UTC

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