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Goal of 4.1.9 (Important Command Functions)

From: Greg Lowney <gcl-0039@access-research.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:12:49 -0800
Message-ID: <4B7DBB61.8030905@access-research.org>
To: WAI-UA list <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
I think we need to modify the current 4.1.9 (formerly 4.1.8), which reads:

    *"4.1.9 Important Command Functions: *Important command functions
    (e.g. related to navigation, display, content, information
    management, etc.) are available using a single or sequence of
    keystrokes or key combinations. (Level AA)"

Unfortunately, as it stands this means nothing, since everything that 
complies with 4.1.1 automatically complies with 4.1.9, as being able to 
carry out a task using the keyboard /means /being able to carry out the 
task using one or more keystrokes and/or combinations.

I'm not entirely sure what the original goal of 4.1.9 was, but I assume 
it was one or both of the first two of the following components of 
accessible keyboard UI design:

*Efficient:* Commonly-used commands should be available through a small 
number of keystrokes. In particular, the amount of work and 
inconvenience required of a keyboard user should not be significantly 
greater than that for mouse users, except where due to inherent 
limitations of the input device. This implies that functions made 
particularly prominent or convenient for mouse users should have 
correspondingly convenient keyboard mechanisms.

*Unvarying: *Command functions should be available using an *unvarying* 
single or sequence of keystrokes and/or key combinations that a user can 
memorize or pre-program into an accessibility aid, and which will 
execute the important command function regardless of extraneous changes 
to the context. (For example, if the items on a context menu vary 
depending on where the text cursor is located, it can change the number 
of arrow keys needed to navigate to a particular item. Therefore, such 
items should have accelerator keys that do not vary.)

*Guided:* The user should never need to memorize keyboard commands. They 
should instead be able to rely on on-screen prompts using a small set of 
universal keyboard mechanisms, such as the method to activate menus, 
select, navigate between, and activate between items, and so forth. For 
example, a menu bar provides a list of command groups and visible 
mnemonic (access key) for each one, as does each item on a menu once 
it's displayed.

In any case, I think it needs to be reworded to more directly address 
its goal, whichever goal we want that to be.


Received on Thursday, 18 February 2010 22:16:13 UTC

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