RE: Authors propose defaults RE: Access Element

Chaals wearing his SIDAR hat wrote:
> [the Cc list is getting out of hand here...]

Yes, sorry.  My passion and enthusiasm got the better of me.



> But in this case the author's suggestion has to be subject to
> the browser, as well as to the user's demands.

And given the infinite possible user-demand configurations, how can an
author ever hope to understand and deliver to each scenario?

> The alternative to having the author pick keys is to have the browser
> assign them according to some kind of algorithm. Nothing
> stops the browser
> doing this, so if it is useful you can expect good browsers
> to offer the
> possibility. For example if a role is a subtype of a known
> role where a
> user has expressed a preference. Or if a common set of
> bindings for roles
> in a given language are published, a user may prefer
> everything relevant
> be remapped to those bindings. (These two example can, of course, be
> combined). 

Yes, and I have said as much.  The current Draft has already enunciated a
set of "standard" role values (and perhaps we need to look more closely at
these to ensure that nothing important has been missed), so user-agents
could indeed do mappings (or expose themselves in other ways - see the Web
Accessibility Extension from Jon Gunderson) based upon these roles.  No need
for authors to assign keystroke combinations if the roles they seek are from
the standard list - in fact this puts the 'standardization' role into the
hands of one body, the W3C, as opposed to many - this has to be a good
thing.  As a working author, if I know that the role of "navigation" (with
keystroke mapping 'automatically applied' for all) could be gained simply by
my adding the role attribute to the appropriate element, this makes my life
easier.  This would lead to better author adoption.  I don't have to guess
which one is right, or seek out (conflicting) standards/guidelines.

> But if someone comes up with something that is apparently
> entirely new,
> what is the best shortcut? 

> It seems to me useful to *allow* the author to *suggest* a default
> binding. Users don't want to have to suggest it until they
> actually need to
> use it and decide that it doesn't make sense so they should re-map it.

Chaals, this statement ("Users don't want to...") is based upon what?
Research or gut feel? I often trust both, but in the context of this
discussion I think that the answer may be important.

> Computers are not that good at user interface design. Which
> leaves me with
> the content author as the best person to give an *initial suggestion*.

But if this is the case, what about conflict resolution?  Who decides, what
is the precedence, and how is it invoked?  I have not seen this addressed
elsewhere, and these points are crucial to the total picture.  Without this
firm guidance (standard?), my fear is that the access element will become
the same mess that accesskey evolved to.

If it is not already clear to everyone, I am advocating FOR good keyboard
navigation.  I believe it to be useful and important.  My concerns are not
about the whys, but rather the hows.  My perspective is based from that of
the end user, who experience has taught us, is less than likely to fiddle
with their user-agent settings - they will just 'suffer' through something
that is broken for fear of further breaking things.  Thus the undo-redo
option, to me, is the less preferable one, where-as auto-discovery and
option "to enhance" is the better route.

To *my* gut feeling, better for a browser/user-agent to "auto-discover" new
access (points? Roles? Declarations?) and allow the user to map first,
rather than have to discover, undo and redo the author's idea.  To me, this
is the path of least resistance and greatest ease of use, but this is based
upon my *gut*, and without the benefit of research.  It also however
addresses keyboard internationalization, something that has possibly been

Witness the Opera browser, and its "Mouse Gestures".  The first time you
"do" a mouse gesture in Opera, a dialogue box opens (auto-discovery) and
tells you that you can invoke this option.  You don't have to, but you can.
This puts the end user in the control seat.  Imagine instead, if the first
time invoked the Mouse Gesture instead "did" something un-expected... The
end user would then have to find out what happened, find out how to undo it
(if they chose), etc., etc.  How (in the big picture) is this any different
than author defined access keys?  Why does the author, and not the end user,
get to have the first say?

John Foliot
Web Accessibility Specialist / Co-founder of
Web Accessibility Testing and Services   
Phone: 1-613-482-7053

Received on Sunday, 5 June 2005 13:13:21 UTC