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Guideline for Keyboard accessibility

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 14:29:50 -0400
Message-ID: <37693E9E.E864D66B@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Reference document:

At the 16 June WG teleconf [1], the WG expressed a
desire to create a guideline specific to keyboard
accessibility. The idea is that keyboard accessibility
is important for ensuring compatibility between desktop
browsers and dependent user agents. 

The 11 June draft of the guidelines distributes keyboard-related
checkpoints to guidelines about device-independence, documentation,
configurability, and following system conventions. In this proposal,
those checkpoints would be regrouped under a single guideline,
with cross references back and forth from other guidelines.

GUIDELINE: Ensure accessible keyboard access to user agent

RATIONALE: Some text here about keyboard access
           being important to ensure compatibility.


 - By default and without additional customization, ensure that
all                   functionalities offered by the user agent are
accessible using the 
   keyboard. [Priority 1]  Cross-ref to device-independence guideline.

 - Allow the user to configure the keystrokes used to activate 
   user agent functionalities. Wherever possible,
   allow single key activation of functions. [Priority 2] 
   Cross-ref to configuration guideline.

 - Indicate the keyboard access method to activate a user agent 
   function using platform conventions. [Priority 2] Cross-ref
   to guideline about system conventions. E.g., underlined letters
   in menu entries.

 - Provide documentation on default keyboard commands and 
   include with user agent documentation and/or user help 
   system. [Priority 2] Cross-ref to guideline on documentation

 - Provide information to the user about the current keyboard 
   configuration. [Priority 2] Cross-ref to guideline about


 - Provide default keyboard configuration for frequently performed
   operations [Pri 3]

 - Others?

There are two checkpoints that should probably remain in other
guidelines since they are more general (and cross references

a) 11.6 Follow operating system conventions and accessibility 
        settings. In particular, follow conventions for user
        interface design, default keyboard configuration, 
        product installation, and documentation. [Priority 2] 

b) PROPOSED: "Define default keyboard configurations consistently
             between software versions. Changes should not be
             made arbitrarily and should improve accessibility 
             or consistency with platform conventions." 
             Perhaps Priority 3?

   This second checkpoint will appear in a separate proposal
   for a guideline about software consistency. If the Working
   Group elects to include a single checkpoint about keyboard
   configuration consistency, that checkpoint would naturally
   fall under the keyboard accessibility guideline.

I do not think we need to have checkpoints specifically for
keyboard navigation and activation of active elements. They
can be listed in prose or as examples to emphasize their
importance, but are covered by the first checkpoint.

- Ian

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ua/1999AprJun/0205.html
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Received on Thursday, 17 June 1999 14:29:42 UTC

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