ACCESSKEY-an actual strength in a perceived weakness

/* moving a thread from w3c-wai-gl to wai-xtech - since this is a
cross-working group issue, please continue discussion in that forum
(; the thread on to which this post is a
reply can be found at (long URI warning)
it began with a post from a non-working group member (thanks, daniel!)
archived at:
who was concerned that use of the "accesskey" attribute breaks MSIE's user
interface */

the ambiguity in the HTML4 technical recommendation as to the "expected
action" that a user agent should/must take when an "accesskey" is invoked is
actually a strength, in that it enables the user to choose whether or not to
"move focus to" the element for which an "accesskey" has been defined, or to
"activate" the element for which the "accesskey" has been defined -- the
minimum requirement for a user agent should be a configuration option which
allows the user to select whether to establish focus on or to activate the
element for which an "accesskey" has been defined; a more advanced (and far
more useful/flexible) technique would be to endow the user with on-the-fly
control over the setting -- a simple toggling mechanism of the sort that
opera implements so well for providing control over the rendering of a
document from the keyboard, but, of course, one which is invoked
programmatically, so that it can be toggled/triggered in a device
independent manner)

this is, in essence, the same functionality that JFW offers via the "List of
Links", which allows the user to choose to "move to" the selected link or to
"activate" the selected link. based on my experience with JFW 3.x, the
list-of-links hasn't changed any since i described it in detail in what i
hoped might serve as a LONGDESC template for the User Agent Guidelines, and
which is archived at (long URI warning)
note that this is but one of the attachments to the post archived at:
which refers to the screen-shots attached to:

however, since the archive breaks links between the related attachments,
your best bet is to use the "all-in-one" version of the description, which
is available via the following, excessively long, URI:

note that the document refers to another screenshot/description set, which
details JFW 3.5's default HTML Options Property Sheet, and which includes an
explanation of JFW's HTML Options -- it is located at:


Received on Tuesday, 28 August 2001 18:50:07 UTC