W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ua@w3.org > October to December 1999

Aspects of keystroke Browsing!

From: Bryan Campbell <bryany@pathcom.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 17:22:19 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
24 Nov 99 Telecon
>Chair: Jon Gunderson
>Scribe: Ian Jacobs
>RSVP Present:
>David Poehlman 
>Gregory J. Rosmaita
>Kitch Barnicle
>Denis Anson
>Dick Brown
>Charles McCathieNevile
>Marja-Riitta Koivunen

>7) Issue 111 

>Issue #6: Checkpoints 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 need restructuring and revision. 
>Proposed: new checkpoint "Provide single-stroke access to user agent

>MRK: You could have some single-key defaults. 

>JG: Highlight in navigation section? for high-frequency functions. 

>KB: What's an example of single key access? Is "Alt-F" a single keystroke? 

Oops I must take my own advice to make definitions clear to others. Page Up
& Down are 1 keystroke commands. In Opera "Q & A" moves the link highlight
Up & Down pages with Spacebar to Get link, "Z & X" do Page Previous & Next
making for a small browser control zone on otherwise unused main keyboard
keys. All Opera key commands http://www.opera.com/keyboard.html An
unexpected browser comparison appears necessary to better explain things. IE
keyboard commands send folks all over a keyboard & twice employ 2 key
shortcuts for very frequently used navigation commands which is most
inefficient, especially as Tab does links & seldom used Form Boxes
(subscriptions are filled-in once), IE's Accessibility doesn't provide
usability (possible ACCESSKEY Alt + letter shortcuts are overwhelmed by the
scores of links on most Web pages, & dependent on sometimes fussy designers
to implement). Seriously it'd be interesting to measure distances between
commands in the 2 browsers to get an idea of the difference in travel
distance for 1 or few digit typists.

Words from another note apply too: The enhanced keyboard is huge for anyone
using just 1 digit, be it head or hand; & key combinations add tiring, extra
work while individual keys go unused. Example: SHIFT-TAB to get the previous
Anchor means 2 keystrokes which is hard as I'm unsteady & apt to miss the
desired link so it can take 4 keystrokes to pick a link. To get an idea of
what how some folks work put the keyboard Repeat Delay to very short &
Repeat rate to very fast, key combinations become a huge challenge, to say
the least. Back to new stuff. It'd be much appreciated if some of the UA
Group tried & tell us how the test went; I dislike operating without firmer
data. What strongly says that the UA Group should deal with 1 key commands
is that Microsoft now sells 2 keyboards with dedicated Web navigation keys:
'Microsoft Natural Keyboard Adds Web, CD Keys'
http://cgi.zdnet.com/slink?11110:803742 Microsoft Internet Keyboard
http://www.winmag.com/reviews/hardware/column/1999/1099/1029.htm PC
Magazine's renowned Jim Seymour loves the Internet Keyboard (read last full
paragraph at this link)
Thing is, these & other brands of keyboards with specific Web keys are build
for 2 hand use, for the rest of us an equivalent software solution is the

On the machanics of software based 1 keystroke commands they must be Off
unless Enabled by users. When 1 keys are Enabled indicators must be active
avoid surprises, not that surprises are likely as the keys revert to their
usual output when anything expect a Web page has a browser's attention. On
what commands get 1 key treatment we here could likely pick upto 10 very
high use commands (likely navigational) that mainstream UAs must provide. It
would save them time by not having re-invent the wheel so to speak, & get
people with disabilities on the Web quick since the don't need to configure
each key. {Yikes my last call work will be a bit of a repeat now.}

>CMN: In Opera, there are a lot of single-key ways to access functionalities

>CMN: Tricky on a smaller keyboard like Intellikeys or switching devices.
If a person needs a special device 1 key commands seem unapplicable. I'm
thinking about folks that can manage regular keyboards getting benefits from
having all the usual keys plus enhanced browser commands! Small keyboards
would likely require a separate layout. Indeed, once the biggest developers
realize how valuable 1 key commands are a few layouts will be available:
Seeing a tiny, dash more programming time used on such items would be
extremely encouraging!

>DB: What need are we meeting? 

>JG: People with motor disabilities. 

Dr Gunderson, besides that does the below hold too?
"Less movement around keyboards helps folks with muscle degeneration as they
tend to have slow or reduced mobility."

>DB: Single key can be tricky since so few keys. What can't Bryan do with
>current browsers? 

With Opera I'm fine & expect improvement as Opera grows, the issue is
universal access. Most vitally if NCSA Mosaic & Opera can do 1 key commands
so should other browsers to make the WAI truly great through enhanced
usability! My headwand pal Bill McMurray http://home.earthlink.net/~billmcm
states his enthusiasm for Opera on his home page, please visit: it seems
impossible we're the only 2 on the WWW whom require 1 key commands. I'm only
spending huge amounts of time here so that Accessibility means usability
which is also easy to find. It took me 10 months to find Opera (late July
1996 when I was also totally under whelmed by IE's new keyboard commands) &
the Web was going blank to NCSA Mosaic rendering engine: I'll be darned if
finding usable programs remains so difficult & up to chance for others.

>KB: Opera allows him to jump from header to header with a single letter key. 

>CMN: Or link to link in IE or Lynx. 

>CMN: You need to be able to configure access. You may have a strong need to
>include single key access. 


->"It has been said the pebbles can't stop the avalanche, guess the pebbles
didn't have access to the Web!"
Received on Friday, 26 November 1999 17:23:46 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:38:24 UTC