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Re: standard key mappings

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 10:37:25 -0400 (EDT)
To: <Mary.Dunlop@visionaustralia.org.au>
cc: Danny Ayers <danny666@virgilio.it>, W3c-Wai-Ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0207291029080.23828-100000@tux.w3.org>

The basic problem is that the user base won't insist on a single standard.
That's not actualy unreasonable - the world is a big place, and different
people want different things.

I have on my desk three telephones. The numbers on each are in the same
places, as are the star and hash buttons. But although each phone can be used
for letters, there are two different systems. (I note that my new french
telephone uses the same pattern as my australian phone, and that australian
phones fell into line with american phones a long time ago).

I also have, on my desk, a calculator. It has almost the same numbers. But
they are effectively upside-down with respect to the telephone layout. This
user interface has been around to my knowledge since the 1970s, and
push-button phones since the 1980s. I see no move to make them the same.

Likewise I am writing this in English. I also work with a group where I write
in Spanish. The two languages have been around for a few hundred years as
more or less identifiably one or the other. But there aren't many serious
moves to unify them.

There is a cost to unification of two systems as well as a gain. In designing
something new, it seems that the cost of re-using an existing convention is
low and the gain is high, but after two things have become established the
balance changes, particularly over the short term.


On Tue, 30 Jul 2002 Mary.Dunlop@visionaustralia.org.au wrote:

>I agree Charles - there are no standards.
>However, given the level of complexity around the delivery of internet
>systems (both web sites and email.  ie RFC's - 50 years old) , the
>internet has been implemented across multiple operating systems (that have
>been developed to respond to a user need).
>The question is -
>Why is there still an excuse for non standard control keys in different
>operating systems and different software applications?  (punch cards in
>manufacturing were developed to translate patterns to weaving looms)
>The "user"  base requires and needs conformity - people use specific
>technology for their daily activities.   IT developers/programmers need
>standards to deliver systems (operating and application systems).
>The user base (our clients), operate phone systems (digital /analogue),
>operating systems and/or specific software applications (with different
>numeric keypads, reverse numeric keypads on calculators, digital phone
>numeric keypads, mode shift keys on laptops to change the functions(
>keyboards display a third level to allow you to access phonetic /
>pronunciation tags - for language based requirements).
>Character maps in software systems are available to represent centuries of
>knowledge, language and numeric infomation.
>Why is it that IT professionals still argue that they are special and
>should not conform to a user based methodology and understanding??
>At the end of the day - as we are all aware - the user pays for a service.
>  This demand is for all people using an interface to information systems to have an intuitive access
>their work/home environment .
>Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
>Sent by: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
>27-07-02 01:38 AM
>        To:     Danny Ayers <danny666@virgilio.it>
>        cc:     W3c-Wai-Ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>        Subject:        Re: standard key mappings
>In my experience these things are application-specific. Some of the more
>widespread applications have widespread standards - MacOS introduced
>command-C, command-X and command-V many years ago, and some variation of
>is now pretty common on non-unix systems (which tend to use shift-delete,
>shift-insert or control-c, control-w, control-y). Beyond that, it seems
>pretty hard to get unification.
>It now seems to make more sense to me having configurations based on
>conventions (making up yet another one is a terrible sin that I too have
>committed) - provide a layer of indirection so you can call stuff via na
>abstract interface layer, then describe a mappping to it. (This way you
>easily define an emacs-like mapping, an Opera-like mapping, and a
>voice-control mapping...)
>On Fri, 26 Jul 2002, Danny Ayers wrote:
>>Does anyone know of a list of reasonably standard mappings between
>>actions & program behaviour? I can get the stuff like Ctrl-c for 'copy'
>>from nosing around existing applications, but there are one or two things
>>can't find (e.g. switching between a framed window view & full-screen).
>>spent a while searching, but all I've found so far have been
>>Danny Ayers
>><stuff> http://www.isacat.net </stuff>
>>Idea maps for the Semantic Web

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Monday, 29 July 2002 10:37:37 UTC

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