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RE: Seeking guidance...

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 10:27:15 -0400
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001bfa61d$87c28d80$53fe330a@msde>
Dear Charles,

> Hmm. I think we are thinking the same thing and I am explaining it
> badly. Here goes again...

No, I think we just have a different opinion about the way things SHOULD

> In ordinary web pages of the early 90's almost the only thing
> that could be
> active was links. They had one kind of behavior - activate them
> and they go
> somewhere else.
> After a number of years we have discovered that on the web it is
> useful to be
> able to separate that into two pieces. As well as being able to activate
> something (for example a link), we can focus on it, and when it gets the
> focus (or mouseover - i.e. when it knows that we are looking directly at
> it) it can highlight itself through some kind of active behaviour.

Right.  And as humans with our current interface devices, keyboards and
mouse, we have limited ways to "tell" the computer where we are looking --
what our focus is on.

onMouseOver is a very reasonable way to tell the computer "I might be
interested in this, can you give me a little more information before I
choose it?"  Clicking is a reasonable way to select something.

Tabbing -- and then pausing -- is also a very reasonable way to give the
computer the same "maybe I'll select this" message.  Enter/return is a
reasonable way to select something.

> By activate, I do not mean triggering this highlighting behavior, but
> getting it to do something more - for example if it is a link, following
> it. Of course there are elements that have a focus behavior but
> nothing more
> - by the definitions I am using these cannot be "activated".

Sure, users have gotten use to activated widgets on a page.  Users have also
gotten use to content that is dynamically change with very litter
interaction on their part (i.e., onMouseOver).  There should be a
keyboard-oriented equivalent to this.  If it's not onFocus, I don't know
what else it could be!

> (The terminology is from the DOM specification, which has a much better
> effort to describe how to make this work properly for XML,
> including XHTML,
> than the HTML 4 specification.)

Improving the DOM is fine, but this shouldn't be necessary.  I am perplexed
that (1) onFocus doesn't have the same broad applicability (per the
specifications) as onMouseOver, and (2) it requires keyboard
activation/selection rather than the lesser standard of just actual "focus".
It is rather obvious to me that the 4.01 spec is BROKEN in this regard.  The
spec should be corrected (4.02) rather than wait for a whole new round of
standards and technology to fix the problem.  I am sorry that I am about two
years late bringing this up!
Received on Friday, 14 April 2000 10:30:37 UTC

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