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RE: Accesskey consensus

From: Derek Featherstone <feather@furtherahead.com>
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 13:40:47 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001501c32540$47307ac0$fe01a8c0@faottcan001>

I sent this once already, but it hasn't surfaced yet... Apologies if it
comes to the list twice.

Jesper wrote:
> Opera 7.0 uses SHIFT+ESC for the HTML access keys and ALT for the access
> keys in the browser. In Internet Explorer and Mozilla we can use
> to get to the access keys in the web page and ALT (and slip it again) +
> to get to the access keys in the browser.

Using accesskeys in this manner is possible if you are considering our
regular every day Graphical User Agents such as IE, Netscape 6+, Opera and
Mozialla and others. You have mentioned it, and I posted about it in
response to the survey John Foliot and I were conducting in a related thread
last year (see http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_message.php?id=2270, and
http://www.wats.ca/resources/accesskeys/19 as John has already pointed out
in this thread)

As Bill indicated, most people don't recognize this difference in keystroke
because it is so very counter-intuitive and will require massive
re-education efforts that seem to be unrealistic. At first I thought the
difference in keystrokes was the key, and that we could make a case for
using them, defining any accesskey we wanted.

However, the issue isn't so much with the Graphical UA's listed above,
rather it is when we use assistive technology and alternative User Agents
that don't distinguish between these keystrokes.

By way of example, IBM's HomePageReader has built in keystroke shortcuts for
going into different modes:
Alt + L starts Links reading mode (only read the links on the page)
Alt + C starts Character reading mode (read character by character)
Alt + 1 starts Heading reading mode (reading only the headings on a page)
Alt + O (letter O not number zero) starts Controls reading mode

IBM HPR makes no distinction between these keystrokes and will not allow you
to use accesskeys. Besides, their mechanism actually seems to make more
sense -- using links mode to cycle through a list of links seems much more
useful and usable.

Paul Bohman at WebAim also indicated that Windows Eyes has similar reserved
characters (see http://webaim.org/discussion/mail_message.php?id=2259 )
although I am not sure how they would or would not respond to the different
keystroke method of using accesskeys.

In any case, as has been previously mentioned -- the use of accesskeys is
very problematic especially when dealing with any adaptive or assistive
technology. Add to the mix the use of International keyboards where some
keys don't even exist, and it becomes even more difficult to effectively use

Just my 2 cents

Best regards,
Derek Featherstone     feather@furtherahead.com
Further Ahead Inc.
phone: 613.599.9784;
toll-free: 1.866.932.4878 (North America) 
Web Development: http://www.furtherahead.com
Training and Learning: http://www.completelearning.comfor 
> the access
> keys in the browser. In Internet Explorer and Mozilla we can use
> ALT+Accesskey to get to the access keys in the web page and 
> ALT (and slip it
> again) + Accesskey to get to the access keys in the browser.
> If the method to choose between the two sets of access keys 
> in Internet
> Explorer an Mozilla is not good enough for some users they 
> most complain to
> the people making the browsers.
> In order to advance the course for a more accessible internet web page
> author should already today use all the letters and digits 
> for access keys
> they like. This will put pressure on the browsers and get them moving.
> See my article:
> "Use first letter as ACCESSKEY",
> http://www.klapmusen.dk/artikel.aspx?xml=20021031e for other 
> details. The
> article is a little dated, a new edition is in the making.
> Best regards,
> Jesper Tverskov
> -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
> Fra: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]På
> vegne af John Foliot - bytown internet
> Sendt: 27. maj 2003 17:40
> Til: Tomas Caspers; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Emne: RE: Accesskey consensus
> After conducting an unofficial survey/research project in the 
> summer of
> 2002, I concluded that there really were no useful access 
> keys not already
> reserved by some application or other.  When you take 
> internationalisation
> issues into account, it becomes a hopeless cause.
> See: http://www.wats.ca/resources/accesskeys/19 for an 
> opinion piece I wrote
> regarding the subject.
> JF
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> > Behalf Of Tomas Caspers
> > Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2003 5:57 AM
> > To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: Accesskey consensus
> >
> >
> >
> > Hoffman, Geoffrey wrote:
> >
> > > I added some of my own research to the above blog...
> > > couldn't find a list of 'reserved access keys' so I created one.
> >
> >
> >
> > German accessibility evangelist Jan Hellbusch has a short list of
> > accesskeys used by various browsers at:
> > 
> http://www.barrierefreies-> webdesign.de/knowhow/tastatur/empfehlung.htm
> >
> > His findings were that the only characters which weren't used in the
> > most common browsers  were c, j and t. Note that he only 
> covers Win98,
> > so the list of "free" keys might even get shorter when you 
> start looking
> > at other OS's and UA's.
> >
> > HTH
> >
> > /Tomas Caspers
> >
> > --
> > Tagesfrische News zur Barrierefreiheit:
> > http://www.einfach-fuer-alle.de/
> > Eine Initiative der Aktion Mensch
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
Received on Wednesday, 28 May 2003 13:44:58 UTC

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