Re: Keyboard support and ARIA

Hi there,

thanks for the clarification - one thing I had in mind was the  
definition of a 'web' modifier key - say function lock, which  
modifies the OS keyboard scan codes, in this way I would expect the  
OS/Browser to understand which keystokes are intended for which  
platform. I don't think this will be solved my just web tech - but I  
do think that the likes of Google will be expecting to create a clean  
and holistic experience for their chrome os and the web apps that sit  
with it; likewise (maybe) for Apple Web Apps. Once we think of a  
webapp as just software we can see that the keyboard, and assignments  
of key combinations, are really internationalisation issues and we  
can allow local assignments based on language setting and semantics  
of the key_action assigned - however encouraging web designers to  
have free range with ad-hoc key combination (accesskeys+js)  
assignments is a mistake in my opinion. Having a well defined way of  
doing this would be better. Heck can HTML5 just not include an  
'action' attribute with a defined set of opcodes to facilitate  
localisable control. I agree about the number you could have but  
touch gestures, haptic gestures, and key modifier codes could be  
included - it will take time for HTML5's uptake.


On 31 Jul 2009, at 16:13, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> On Fri, 31 Jul 2009 14:54:59 +0200, Simon Harper  
> <> wrote:
>> 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:
> Between the use of ARIA roles, and @rel values, we have a fair  
> amount of information about common patterns already. It is not  
> feasible to provide default keyboard shortcuts for a huge set of  
> things - when you have a keyboard like Opera mini usually  
> encounters, even using key combos you have 30 things you can  
> assign, and most of those are given to the UI or common links  
> already. (Actually iPhone's gestures, and mouse gestures in Opera,  
> have a similar role in life and similar limitations in numbers).
> But where there are common ways to describe common semantics,  
> making things that are an explicitly keybaord-controllable function  
> is better than just listening for various javascript events. And  
> using things like tabindex and accesskey (which although they are  
> still sub-optimal in implementation are no more broken than  
> mysterious key-trapping in javascript) is a step forward too.
>> <ul>
>> 	<li><a id="ks_file">File</a><li>
>> 	<ul>
>> 		<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>
>> 	</ul>
>> 	<li><a id="ks_edit">Edit</a><li>
>> 	<li><a id="ks_help">Help</a><li>
>> </ul>
>> 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.
> There are a few things in basic HTML 4 that enable this. You won't  
> get complete consistency - what I can do on a touch screen phone  
> with 4 buttons isn't the same as what I can do on a standard  
> keyboard, and that is different from what i can do on a Russian  
> keyboard. But a web application should be capable of adapting to  
> all of these - and that means either a huge enomous and almost  
> definitely hopelessly incomplete author-specified set of shortcuts,  
> or a mechanism that allows the browser to assign the shortcut, with  
> a default suggested by the author in the hope that it might be  
> available.
>> Not sure if this helps any but I think we really need to look into  
>> this.
> Agreed. Cheers
>> Cheers
>> Si.
>> =======================
>> Simon Harper
>> University of Manchester (UK)
>> Human Centred Web Lab:
>> My Site:
>> My Diary (Web): 
>> phpicalendar/week.php
>> My Diary (Subscribe): 
>> harper/SimonHarper.ics
>> 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:
>>>> From: "Charles McCathieNevile" <>
>>>> Date: 16 July 2009 16:37:01 BST
>>>> To: "" <>
>>>> 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
>>>>       Try Opera:
>>> --Henny Swan
>>> Web Evangelist
>>> Member of W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Education and Outreach  
>>> Group
>>> Personal blog:
>>> Stay up to date with the Web Standards Curriculum
> -- 
> Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
>     je parle franšais -- hablo espa˝ol -- jeg lŠrer norsk
>       Try Opera:

Received on Friday, 31 July 2009 13:48:51 UTC