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Thread: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard

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From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Tue, Jan 31 2006 6:45AM
Subject: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard
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Given a <select> element with the multiple attribute set,
is there any way to select more than one item using the keyboard only, on
Internet Explorer? The IE Help system does not seem to say anything about
this, but I figured out in my tests that keeping the Shift key down while
using the downwards or upwards arrow key causes a multiple selection, but
only for a _range_ of options, from the previous choice up to (or down to)
the option to which you move. But is there any way to select more than one
option otherwise?

(I know that <select ... multiple> is a bad way of setting up a
choice, since a set of checkboxes is much more accessible and useable,
but I'm now interested in knowing _how_ inaccessible <select ... multiple> is.
I suspect there is a secret key sequence for multiple choices.)

--
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/





From: Patrick Lauke
Date: Tue, Jan 31 2006 7:15AM
Subject: RE: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard
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> Jukka K. Korpela

> Given a <select> element with the multiple attribute set,
> is there any way to select more than one item using the
> keyboard only, on
> Internet Explorer?

There's *no way* to select multiple, non-adjacent options via the keyboard in IE.

Just discovered the other day that Firefox handles this second case nicely: keeping CTRL pressed, you can use cursor up/down and toggle via the spacebar.

Coupled with the fact that a multiple select list is a slightly unfamiliar type of control on the web and therefore usually requires clear explanation even for users with a pointing device ("keep CTRL pressed and click" ... a two-hand operation that feels most unnatural compared to other form elements), I'd always shy away from using it.

Patrick
________________________________
Patrick H. Lauke
Web Editor / University of Salford
http://www.salford.ac.uk
________________________________
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
http://webstandards.org/
________________________________




From: Joshue O Connor
Date: Tue, Jan 31 2006 7:45AM
Subject: Re: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard
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> Just discovered the other day that Firefox handles this second case nicely: keeping CTRL pressed, you can use cursor up/down and toggle via the spacebar.

Cheers for the tip, thats one for IE 7 ;)

Josh

Joshue O Connor

Web Accessibility Consultant

**Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT)* *
National Council for the Blind of Ireland

Website:http://www.cfit.ie
E-Mail: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Tel: +353 1 8821915



Patrick Lauke wrote:
>>Jukka K. Korpela
>
>
>>Given a <select> element with the multiple attribute set,
>>is there any way to select more than one item using the
>>keyboard only, on
>>Internet Explorer?
>
>
> There's *no way* to select multiple, non-adjacent options via the keyboard in IE.
>
> Just discovered the other day that Firefox handles this second case nicely: keeping CTRL pressed, you can use cursor up/down and toggle via the spacebar.
>
> Coupled with the fact that a multiple select list is a slightly unfamiliar type of control on the web and therefore usually requires clear explanation even for users with a pointing device ("keep CTRL pressed and click" ... a two-hand operation that feels most unnatural compared to other form elements), I'd always shy away from using it.
>
> Patrick
> ________________________________
> Patrick H. Lauke
> Web Editor / University of Salford
> http://www.salford.ac.uk
> ________________________________
> Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
> http://webstandards.org/
> ________________________________
>
>
>
>
>





From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Tue, Jan 31 2006 8:00AM
Subject: RE: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard
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> Given a <select> element with the multiple attribute set, is there
> any way to select more than one item using the keyboard only, on
> Internet Explorer?

Yes, use Shift+F8. After you press Shift+F8, you can use the up and
down arrows to move through the items and use the spacebar to select
individual items.

Tim




From: Christian Heilmann
Date: Tue, Jan 31 2006 8:15AM
Subject: Re: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard
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> > Given a <select> element with the multiple attribute set, is there
> > any way to select more than one item using the keyboard only, on
> > Internet Explorer?
>
> Yes, use Shift+F8. After you press Shift+F8, you can use the up and
> down arrows to move through the items and use the spacebar to select
> individual items.

Wow. Other software vendors call these things easter eggs :-)

good find.

--
Chris Heilmann
Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
Writing: http://icant.co.uk/
Binaries: http://www.onlinetools.org/




From: Patrick Lauke
Date: Tue, Jan 31 2006 8:30AM
Subject: RE: Multiple selections in <select> using keyboard
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> Tim Harshbarger

> Yes, use Shift+F8. After you press Shift+F8, you can use the up and
> down arrows to move through the items and use the spacebar to select
> individual items.

Right...I give up. Who the heck at Microsoft thought "oh, I know...that's a logical way to handle this via keyboard".

Rather than sway me, the fact that this is such an illogical, cryptic way to go about it even further reinforces my conviction that this type of control should not be used. How's about a list of chekboxes in an overflow:auto fieldset with set height in ems? ;)

Patrick
________________________________
Patrick H. Lauke
Web Editor / University of Salford
http://www.salford.ac.uk
________________________________
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
http://webstandards.org/
________________________________