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RE: Access Keys - your collective help is urgently requested!

From: Hy Cohen <hy@miplet.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 08:29:02 -0700
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000501c25b3a$4d794860$6c6df4d1@hh2tg01>

I was trying to get access keys to work with IE but they don't seem to.
I had GW Micro try it, and they said they couldn't get access keys to
work in IE with or without Window-Eyes.  Funny.  Does anyone else have
any info on IE and access keys?


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Lloyd G. Rasmussen
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2002 8:05 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Access Keys - your collective help is urgently requested!

In my opinion, Accesskey should never have been put in the specs until
there was an understanding of a very small number of keys reserved for
specific navigation purposes.

Window-Eyes uses the alt numbers 0 through 9 for reading the contents of
a frame or window of information from the screen.  In WE 4.2 and
probably earlier, the SET file which configures Window-Eyes for use with
IE has alt-0, alt-1 and alt-2 undefined.  Alt-3 will read the whole IE
application window.  Since these "hotkeys" are handled by the screen
reader, they are not passed on to the browser.  I would think that HPR
would intercept its hotkeys before an accesskey directive could see it.

See if you can design the pages with only one accesskey or none.

At 04:24 PM 9/13/02 +0300, you wrote:
>John Foliot wrote:
>> - -a large group of institutional developers have
>> been recommended to implement a series of "Standardized" Access Keys
>> assigned to "Skip Nav" functionality across multiple web sites.  - -
>> they have recommended the use of "Alt+1" and "Alt+2".  Users of IBM's

>> Home Page Reader may recognise these as being  "Alt+1 = Headings
>> Reading Mode" and "Alt+2 = Text View".
>This is a mess.
>> It's a mess.
>It's a frustrating mess.
>I had thought, and the consensus of some discussion has been, as far as

>I know, that using digit keys as access keys is the safest way to avoid

>clashes with browsers' built-in shortcuts. I had even documented and
>recommended such usage:
>I hadn't used IBM HPR enough to have noted the problem. How serious is
>it in practice? How often are those shortcuts used, and are there
>alternative ways of doing what they do?
>> Current thinking is to move to "Alt+X", Alt+Y" and Alt+Z"
>I'm afraid any letters as access keys are reserved by one or (probably)

>more programs for some use. But if you're going to use letters, then
>those letters at the end of the English alphabet presumably have less
>use than others, just because it's more difficult to treat them as
>mnemonic in any way. (Well, X could be eXit, Y might be Yank, Z might
>be Zoom. Actually, Opera seems to use Alt+X and Alt+Z for moving within

>the history list; don't ask me why.)
>It is virtually impossible to test all the browsers, since the shortcut

>assignments vary even between different language versions. And it is
>not sufficient to consider shortcuts in assistive technology. The great

>majority of users use browsers that have some support to access keys,
>and this means that some built-in shortcuts will be overridden _without

>the users even knowing_ before they try to use some shortcut they are
>familiar with and observing something strange.
>For "Skip Nav", are access keys needed at all? Isn't it sufficient that

>there is a link to the start of the main content, or otherwise past the

>navigation? It could be a "visually hidden" link, i.e. a transparent
>single-pixel GIF with something like alt="Main content of the page."
>Such links have their problems, but I'd say that they are, as a whole,
>tolerable than the harmful side effects of access keys.
>Jukka Korpela, senior adviser
>TIEKE Finnish Information Society Development Centre
>Diffuse Business Guide to Web Accessibility and Design for All:
Braille is the solution to the digital divide.
Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress    (202) 707-0535  <lras@loc.gov>
HOME:  <lras@sprynet.com>       <http://lras.home.sprynet.com>
Received on Friday, 13 September 2002 11:29:19 UTC

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