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Re: Access Keys as a means to passing 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks

From: Userite <richard@userite.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 15:54:27 +0100
Message-ID: <0240662B196A4F9AB5B16E186A0DECA5@DaddyPC>
To: "Vivienne CONWAY" <v.conway@ecu.edu.au>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Personally I do not recommend the use of the accesskey attribute except in very specialised applications for the following reasons:

1) Usability - There is no standard for the meaning of the values for this attribute. The UK Gov't tried to establish a scheme ("1" = Home Page, "0" = Sitemap etc.) but it never gained popularity. Also it can be seriously miss-used. For example if you use the code <a href="products.html" accesskey="p">Our Products</a>  then the typical user is as likely to print the current page as go to the products page !!!!

2) Accessibility - It can conflict with some Assistive technology.

If, as you say, it is coming back into favour then hopefully someone at W3C will decide to work on a standardised schema for it.



-----Original Message----- 
From: Vivienne CONWAY 
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:48 AM 
To: David Woolley 
Cc: Harry Loots ; Userite ; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org 
Subject: RE: Access Keys as a means to passing 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks 

Hi David

Thanks for that.

I find that when access keys are used, they are often very well-hidden and only people 'in the know' realize they are even there.  As you said, normally they are described in a separate page/link.  Putting the link to the description and purpose of the keys is often more cluttered than just using well-placed skip links.  At least with skip links most people know how to use them and their purpose is clear.  If only we could get people to have them always visible - yes, I know it clutters the top.  However I have seen it done very successfully so I just think we need to be more open to having the accessibility features visible - demonstrates our desire to make things easier for people.

By the way, I'm still not sure why headings satisfy this criterion.  If you rely on the heading, it then requires subjective analysis to determine if the headings are sufficient to enable people to satisfactorily skip the repeated content.The headings only help screen reader users, not people who rely on tab control or have low vision.


Vivienne L. Conway, B.IT(Hons), MACS CT, AALIA(cs)
PhD Candidate & Sessional Lecturer, Edith Cowan University, Perth, W.A.
Director, Web Key IT Pty Ltd.
Mob: 0415 383 673

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From: David Woolley [forums@david-woolley.me.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, 16 October 2012 2:41 PM
To: Vivienne CONWAY
Cc: Harry Loots; Userite; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Access Keys as a means to passing 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks

Vivienne CONWAY wrote:

> Question - do you believe that the provision of access keys would
> produce a 'pass' grade for 2.4.1?

For an inside page of a site which people have to log in to, and
normally access frequently, maybe.  For a page that could be reached by
search engines, by unfamiliar users, you would need to explain the
access key at the top of the page, and that would probably be more
intrusive to the design than a skip link.

On an earlier point, if a user has to follow a special link to find
accessibility features, they are only going to do so if they are
desperate to access the site, or they are going to be  frequent user.
Normally these are done as a sop to accessibility with the hope that
they won't disrupt the design.  Often they just tell you how to use the
general accessibility features of mainstream browsers.

David Woolley
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Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 14:54:55 UTC

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