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RE: Access Keys
From: John Foliot - bytown internet
Date: Mar 27, 2002 10:49AM
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OK, but why?
Would it not make sense to at least add it to the WAI Guidelines? While it
may not be *Mandated* it would at least be documented and recommended under
an authorative domain; a subtle encouragement to standardize. The W3C
provides and example of the accesskey "in action" at:
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#link-accesskey Even if the code
example they used indicated:<.a href="features.html" accesskey="0"
title="Accessibility Features of this site"> it would be a start...
Microsoft has already "bound" a number of keys to functions, and while it is
proprietory they led the way and most savvy PC folk know the "Control C
Control V" combo (Copy, Paste). If a large enough user body "claimed" a
convention, it would become a defacto convention, no? But somebody needs to
get the ball rolling. If not the W3C, who?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jon Gunderson [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> Sent: March 27, 2002 12:08 PM
> To: <EMAIL REMOVED> ; <EMAIL REMOVED>
> Subject: RE: Access Keys
> The W3C would never recommend any particular key binding for a
> function. They may point to a convention that is used by another group,
> but only as an informative note to the reader.
> At 11:49 AM 3/27/2002 -0500, John Foliot - bytown internet wrote:
> >I have employed access keys on my site this way:
> ><.a href="#all" accesskey="z" tabindex="1" title="Skip All
> >src="images/shim.gif" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="Skip All
> >Navigation - Access Key Z"></a><.a href="#primary" accesskey="x"
> >Primary navigation block"><.img src="images/shim.gif" width="1"
> >border="0" alt="Skip Primary navigation block - Access Key X"></a><.a
> >href="features_e.html" accesskey="y" title="Accessibility
> Features of this
> >site"><.img src="images/shim.gif" width="1" height="1" border="0"
> >alt="Accessibility Features of this site - Access Key Y">
> >This code block appears at the top of every document. Since access keys
> >specifically benefit the visually impaired, the first links both
> provide the
> >"quick" navigation afforded by the "skip nav" function as well
> as a link to
> >a page explaining the accessibility features of the site; because it's
> >wrapped around an invisible gif it's an actual link (which even
> >browsers can deal with), and the Alt text for the 3 gifs
> identify that there
> >are access keys being used on the site.
> >Jukka mentions assigning the Access Key of (zero) to the "Accessibility
> >Features" link (instead of my "Y")... Jukka, where is this being
> >Is it W3C, or elsewhere? I personally think that it would be a wonderful
> >idea if the development community could come to an agreement on this, and
> >perhaps a standardization.
> >Has anybody else seen anything like this? Jukka, could you
> point me (us) in
> >a direction?
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Jukka Korpela [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> > > Sent: March 27, 2002 2:57 AM
> > > To: ' <EMAIL REMOVED> '
> > > Subject: RE: Underlined text on button
> > >
> > >
> > > Emma Jane Hogbin wrote:
> > >
> > > > If users are "in the know" about access keys will they look
> > > > for them on a site?
> > >
> > > Good question. And how would they look for them? The original
> > > idea seems to
> > > have been that a browser supporting access keys would
> > > automatically indicate
> > > the access keys. For example, a user could give some command
> to get a list
> > > of access keys, or a browser could show them in some special area in a
> > > toolbar.
> > >
> > > It has been proposed that access key 0 (zero) be assigned by
> authors to
> > > correspond to a link to an explanation of access key
> assignments. This is
> > > probably the closest we can get to the original idea with current
> > > browsers.
> > >
> > > > The url posted here seems to suggest that screen
> > > > readers/aural browsers ignore the access key attribute.
> > > > Anyone know for sure?
> > >
> > > I'm afraid I don't understand the question. Support to accesskey
> > > attributes
> > > is basically a matter of recognizing certain HTML markup and
> > > providing some
> > > method for using certain keyboard keys as shortcuts,
> corresponding to the
> > > access key assignments. When screen readers or aural browsers are
> > > used, the
> > > input method is usually a keyboard. So whether access keys
> are supported
> > > depend on the browser, not on the methods it uses to present
> the document.
> > > Presentation matters as regards to telling the user what the
> access key
> > > assignments are.
> > >
> > > For example, if a graphic browser that supports accesskey
> (e.g., IE 6) is
> > > used together with screen reader software, then naturally the
> access keys
> > > work the same way as in visual mode, i.e., not very well, but
> > > in a useful way. But the user needs to have the assignments
> explained in
> > > normal language. Underlining would not help a blind user, unless
> > > the screan
> > > reader can actually explain say what letters are underlined.
> And putting
> > > e.g. "(Alt-W)" after a form field, as often suggested and
> used, wouldn't
> > > really help much either - if one hears that after getting
> into the field
> > > somehow, filling it out, and proceeding. Besides, "(Alt-W)"
> could really
> > > confuse an unexperienced user, especially if Alt-W does not work
> > > for him or
> > > actually causes something completely different than focusing
> on a field.
> > >
> > > Thus, the conclusion is that plain English explanations about
> access key
> > > assignments are needed. ("English" is to be taken as a
> generic term for
> > > natural language, of course.) This raises some practical
> > > questions. Suppose
> > > first that you put the explanations onto a separate page. One
> would, in
> > > practice, due to the way browsers support accesskey, need to put
> > > an explicit
> > > link to a page with accesskey assignment explanations onto
> each and every
> > > page that has some access key assignments. Naturally that
> link would then
> > > have accesskey="0". But on IE, Alt-0 would take the user to that
> > > link only,
> > > and then Enter is needed to follow the link. And the author
> would need a
> > > separate explanation page for each page, if there is _anything_
> > > page-specific in the assignments.
> > >
> > > Alternatively, the explanations could appear on a page itself.
> > > Somewhere at
> > > the bottom probably. The problem is how make access key 0
> take the user
> > > there. This might require trickery:
> > >
> > > <div class="noprint">
> > > <hr title="Access key assignments">
> > > <div><a id="accesskeys" accesskey="0" href="#accesskeys">Access
> > > keys:</a></div>
> > > <ul class="compact">
> > > <li>0 = get this list
> > > <li>1 = <a href="index.html" accesskey="1">main page of the site</a>
> > > <li>4 = <a href="search.html" accesskey="1">search the site</a>
> > > </ul>
> > > </div>
> > >
> > > I'm not sure whether it's worth the trouble. We would use quite
> > > some special
> > > methods as a workaround to compensate for deficiencies in
> browsers. When
> > > browsers _really_ start supporting access keys, we would look a
> > > bit foolish,
> > > with lots of pages with extra stuff like the above. But if
> access keys are
> > > very important on some pages, due to their specific content
> and use, then
> > > perhaps it _is_ worth the trouble.
> > >
> > > --
> > > Jukka Korpela
> > > TIEKE Tietoyhteiskunnan kehitt