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Re: AccessKeys and what to use

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 17:51:43 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Graham Oliver <graham_oliver@yahoo.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Accesskey is problematic.  Basically you have to guess at whatever
keys the user agent, operating system, assistive technologies, and
other programs aren't already using, and use something else, and
hope the user has a way to use them.  This is a bad enough problem
itself (quick fix:  Only use 0-9 as accesskeys...), but there are
further problems with accesskey.

To create a good user interface, you need to tell the user what
accesskeys are available.  That's where the real problem comes in.
You can't use one user interface to do this -- you need to have an
adaptable UI to pull it off correctly in a decent manner, or else
kludge in pointless verbiage.

The problem is that you don't want to leave out reference to the
accesskeys if the user can use it, but you don't want to put them
in if the user can't use it.  Your alternatives are sensing the
browser somehow (server-side, javascript), or putting in long text
of the kind "If you have Netscape, blah blah, if you have IE,
blah blah, if you have Opera, blah blah."  The latter is generally
a Bad Idea.

Accesskey:  Good idea, poorly thought out implementation.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Tuesday, 21 August 2001 20:55:37 UTC

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