Re: agreement: user disposes; disagreement: author proposes [was: Re: When actions speak louder than words]

Currently, the XHTML 2 access key is optional but not required. Charles, I
have asked WCAG regarding the need for an author supplied keyboard option.
John has suggested that we not supply an access key. For those, like
Charles, who feel there is still a need please let me know.

Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Emerging Technologies
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review  Board
blog:, Phone: 512-838-4593,T/L: 678-4593, mobile: 512-876-9689

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.",

             <                                          To 
             >                         "Al Gilman"                         
             Sent by:                  <>, "John   
             wai-xtech-request         Foliot" <> 
             12/21/2005 10:25          Re: agreement: user disposes;       
             AM                        disagreement: author proposes [was: 
                                       Re:  When actions speak louder than 

On Wed, 21 Dec 2005 16:59:21 +0100, Al Gilman <>

> There is a big leap from saying that the consumer *can* configure
> shortcuts to bind them to keystrokes, and saying that the consumer
> *will.*  It is quite possible that many more consumers will have the
> benefit of the short-cuts if they have an initial key binding "out of
> the box" as the web application pages open in the user's browser, and
> do not wait for the user to configure keys for the shortcut-prone
> functions specific to this application.

I entirely agree that being able to override whatever the author thought
was a good shortcut is critical. We make browsers for devices with no
keyboard but access to any set of shortcuts imaginable through voice,
10-key keyboards, hindi and pujabi keyboards, numeric keyboards, and many
others. There is nothing that is common across the entire range, so
shortcuts *must* be adapted, and therefore must be adaptable.

I also agree that where there is information describing the functionality
(such as the rel attribute in HTML) of a link that is better than an
author-suggested shortcut. We wrote an opera extension designed to also
work in Firefox to make that easier, by allowing the browser to pick up on

rel attributes on a elements as well as link elements for just this reason

- it means the user knows the browser shortcut for a pages search
function, or next page function, rather than guessing what the author
would have suggested.

Having said that, there is still value in the author making a suggestion
of a key. Where we have no role information available, or have already
assigned a primary key for a function (e.g. search the website, and there
is also "search the 'subsite'") then having an author suggestion does no
harm and gives us a hint about how to make something that is at least
internally consistent. We would expect power browser users to configure
something that suits them, and power site users to learn the model
proposed by the site author, perhaps even configuring their activation
methods in the browser to match the default suggestions of their favourite




Charles McCathieNevile           
   hablo espa˝ol  -  je parle franšais  -  jeg lŠrer norsk
      Peek into the kitchen:

Received on Monday, 2 January 2006 01:50:10 UTC