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Re: Maximum number of keystrokes (operations) to get to any item on a webpage?

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From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Dec 19, 2011 5:57PM


Hi guys

Good observations.
Yes, I had to step in and comment on a site that had literally 25 or
30 "AccessKey" shortcuts, that absolutely no one was using (I am also
a part of the screen reader training team, and my colleague, who has
done this for 10 years, said users did not want this).
It took some time to convince the site admins about this, but I have
managed to get them to remove all but two AccessKey attributes from
the site.
As I said, I still believe the AccessKey attribute is useful, if used
very sparingly and in situations where a link is used very often, but
is not immediately accessible in another way (think the alt-i for
Inbox on www.gmail.com .. using Basic HTML).
I agree with everyone, I just think the "few keystrokes" philosophy
might work as a sort of teaching technique/challenge for web
accessibility presentations more than anything.
I am mostly thinking of how we can get regular web developers, who
perhaps attend a lecture on web accessibility in school or
professional education series, actually intreagued or interested
enough to really give these problems some thought, and something
concrete like this seems to be a good point to create discussions
around. At the same time, as you guys point out, we don't want to
simplify the problem of accessibility to a check list or a number,
because it is, fortunately or unfortunately, more complex than that.
-B


On 12/19/11, Tim Harshbarger < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Another issue with focusing on keystroke counts is that fewer keystrokes
> does not also mean increased usability.
>
> For example, you could design a membership form for an organization so that
> every field and choice uses an access key. This would mean you had designed
> the form with the fewest keystrokes possible. However, someone using a
> screen reader would have to read through all those fields to find out what
> the access key is. Even if you provided a list at the top of the page, a
> screen reader user would still need to read through the list.
>
> I definitely think fewer keystrokes is better than more, but how much is
> "fewer" probably depends on other things. Just off the top of my head, I
> would think that "fewer" might depend on the user's expectations on how the
> interactions should work, how often they need to complete that interaction,
> and the discoverability of the keystrokes they need to use.
>
> I think it ends up being like most of accessibility and usability--fewer
> keystrokes is good, but context matters.
>
> Thanks!
> Tim
> Tim Harshbarger
> -----Original Message-----
> From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Benjamin
> Hawkes-Lewis
> Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 7:41 AM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Maximum number of keystrokes (operations) to get to
> any item on a webpage?
>
> On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 10:55 PM, Birkir R. Gunnarsson
> < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
>> All of this being said, has accessibility ever been framed or
>> evaluated in terms of number of keystrokes needed to get to an element
>> on a page?
>
> Yes. The WCAG2 supporting documentation explains that this is an
> advantage of headings:
>
> http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/navigation-mechanisms-descriptive.html
>
> See also:
>
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-comments-wcag20/2011Sep/0032.html
>
> for a rationale of why WCAG does not go to include a precise metric
> around the number of keystrokes.
>
> Note also that different mechanisms implemented by different user
> agents can radically change the number of keystrokes required, even in
> the absence of semantic markup. For example, typeahead find and
> spatial navigation can radically reduce the time taken to activate a
> link.
>
> --
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
>