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Opera 7 supports ACCESSKEY

From: Jesper Tverskov <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 21:25:38 +0100
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <PMEDKJMNFKKCPMNLCCFIGEIBCCAA.jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>

The Norwegian browser Opera now supports HTML ACCESSKEY. I have tested Opera 7.02 for Windows.

1) First the good news. Opera has chosen not to use the ALT key. In Opera in order to activate HTML ACCESSKEY you have to press SHIFT+ESC and the access key. It seems to work well.

2) Except for SHIFT+ESC Opera's implementation is very similar to Netscape and Mozilla. The access key does not only bring focus to the link, it also follows the link. This is probably how it should work if we follow the HTML specifications. But the wording in the specs are not clear. Not even in the Working Draft for XHTML 2.0.

3) In my opinion it is very bad usability for the access key not just to bring focus to the link but also to follow it. For obvious reasons:

In web pages it is difficult to indicate the access key in the link text in a way that is easy to read. The links are already underscored. You can remove the underscoring and just underscore the access key or you can use color or bold to indicate the access keys, or you can write the access key letter after the link text, etc. 

Poor resolution makes it difficult to notice the indicated access keys and to read the indicated letters or digits, and you often get them wrong. Some websites just have a help page telling you what access keys to use.

It is much better íf the access key just bring focus to the link, the way Microsoft has implemented ACCESSKEY. Now it is easier to take chances, you can allow yourself to guess the access key, because you get a chance to control where you land before you follow the link.

If the access key only brings focus to the link, it is also possible to have sub-sections of links or groups with just one access key. You can fast move to the subsection using the access key, and then continue with TAB of SHIFT+TAB (some systems use other keys) to move on to the right link.

If web pages are simple as they should be, they load fast. But many web pages do not load fast, and you still have many slow connections using modem. Then it is even more bad, that the access keys follow the links. You have to wait let us say 10 seconds for the argument in order to find out that you misread the indicated access key letter or got it wrong for other reasons. We do not have this problem in traditional office application where everything loads fast.

Jesper Tverskov
Received on Thursday, 27 February 2003 15:19:39 UTC

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