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Re: Keyboard support and ARIA

From: Simon Harper <simon.harper@manchester.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 13:54:59 +0100
Message-Id: <8F6A256D-59A1-4237-B797-8C92FF373B0A@manchester.ac.uk>
Cc: WAI-UA list <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
To: Henny Swan <hennys@opera.com>
Thanks for that Henny,

One think comes to mind, could we not mark up elements that can enact  
programmatic events with explicit 'action' semantics. Such as:

	<li><a id="ks_file">File</a><li>
		<li><a id="ks_tab">New Tab</a><li>
		<li><a id="ks_file">Open File</a><li>
		<li><a id="ks_location">Open Location</a><li>

	<li><a id="ks_edit">Edit</a><li>
	<li><a id="ks_help">Help</a><li>

Then allow the browser (maybe even OS specific) to assign standard  
key shortcuts. In this way you get mouse-less browsing but with  
constancy across applications and operating systems, and you don't  
have to be prescriptive wrt browser manufacturers.

Not sure if this helps any but I think we really need to look into this.



Simon Harper
University of Manchester (UK)

Human Centred Web Lab: http://hcw.cs.manchester.ac.uk

My Site: http://hcw.cs.manchester.ac.uk/people/harper/

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On 31 Jul 2009, at 12:19, Henny Swan wrote:

> Folks,
> Here's a copy of Chaal's mail to WAI-xtech concerning keyboard  
> support and ARIA.
> Cheers, Henny
> Begin forwarded message:
>> Resent-From: wai-xtech@w3.org
>> From: "Charles McCathieNevile" <chaals@opera.com>
>> Date: 16 July 2009 16:37:01 BST
>> To: "wai-xtech@w3.org" <wai-xtech@w3.org>
>> Subject: Keyboard support and ARIA
>> Hi folks,
>> I have had a concern for a while (I recall raising it several  
>> times over the last few years, but have been focussed on other  
>> things and not followed so clearly) about the use of pure  
>> Javascript to deal with keyboard accessibility.
>> The major issue is the nature of keyboard interaction in  
>> Javascript. Put briefly, it's a horrible mess with no concept of  
>> device independence. So on the face of it, the idea that it would  
>> be a good base for building accessibility seems like an odd notion.
>> Digging into the details we find that several attempts to specify  
>> this in a way considered workable have ended with clever people  
>> throwing up their hands and saying "we could document some more of  
>> the current mess, but it isn't actually anything you would want  
>> people to use" (or things to that effect). Changing keyboard  
>> layouts, browsers, devices, alphabets, language - almost anything  
>> causes this to go from a nasty mess to a plain old failure.
>> By comparison, the use of tabindex and real links or buttons, as  
>> per old-fashioned HTML, seems to allow for a much more flexible  
>> interaction model. HTML 5's command element, it's improved  
>> specification of accesskey, and the growing understanding that  
>> this stuff should be left to user agents and users rather than  
>> page authors, offers the promise of being able to make keyboard  
>> interaction actually work properly in more than one language or  
>> device without having to develop massive collections of  
>> alternatives with 5-variant testing to choose the right one.
>> The migration path, as always, is actually messy. Currently  
>> accesskey implementations range from not very good (e.g. Opera on  
>> desktop which has some bugs and limitations, or really basic phone  
>> browsers that only allow numbers) to the awful (e.g. things that  
>> let pages override normal user agent interface), with a good dose  
>> of the non-existent. Meanwhile, interrupting everything with  
>> javascript means that the issue of where the priority should go is  
>> also raised.
>> I don't think these are insoluble problems, but I do see a lot of  
>> work moving in a direction that looks like a very ugly ad very  
>> limiting dead-end, that could actually significantly reduce the  
>> practical value of ARIA far below its potential.
>> Cheers
>> Chaals
>> -- 
>> Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
>>    je parle franšais -- hablo espa˝ol -- jeg lŠrer norsk
>> http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
> -- 
> Henny Swan
> Web Evangelist
> Member of W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Education and Outreach  
> Group
> www.opera.com/developer
> Personal blog: www.iheni.com
> Stay up to date with the Web Standards Curriculum www.opera.com/wsc
Received on Friday, 31 July 2009 12:55:34 UTC

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