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Re: Guideline for Keyboard accessibility

From: Denis Anson <danson@miseri.edu>
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 19:52:00 -0400
Message-Id: <199906172351.TAA08174@www10.w3.org>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

Sorry I missed the meeting.  We were cut off from the world at the college,
as far as electronics, so I couldn't see the new guidelines to talk about
them.  Some comments are scattered about below...

>From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
>To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
>Subject: Guideline for Keyboard accessibility
>Date: Thu, Jun 17, 1999, 2:29 PM

>Reference document:
>   http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WAI-USERAGENT-19990611
>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
I'm not sure these two are not priority 1.  It doesn't do any good at all to
provide a keyboard access method unless you also let the user know what it
is.  That may be by having keyboard equivalents in the menus, underlined
letters, etc.  But the information *must* be there or accessibility is not

> - Provide information to the user about the current keyboard 
>   configuration. [Priority 2] Cross-ref to guideline about
Again, unless I know what the current keyboard settings are, the program is
not accessible.  Considering the number of keyboard options that we are
talking about, it would be virtually impossible to "discover" the keyboard
settings by trial and error.  Unless the settings are made available, they
might as well not be there.

> - 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 19:51:34 UTC

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