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RE: Access keys, ie6


From: Philip Pawley
Date: Jan 21, 2002 2:36PM

I just recently built accessibility into my web-site and have made extensive use of keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the page. I would like to share my thoughts.

1. Accesskeys are useless unless the user knows what they are. Therefore:-

a. I have labelled them all *on the page* (as well as detailing them in the appropriate accessibility section). While I don't like the extra clutter, I feel I can live with it.

b. It would be good to have a consensus on some basic shortcuts. For instance, what about if all users could go to a site and press Alt-1 expecting to go straight to the page that details the site's accessibility features. If it didn't work, they could conclude the site wasn't built with accessibility in mind?

2. While keyboard shortcuts work in Netscape 6, the TAB key doesn't (yet). It *does* work in the last few releases of Mozilla, so maybe in Netscape 6.3?

3. I take the point about the conflict problem with using letters. The problem is the limitation to only 10 shortcuts. Is there anywhere that will tell us which letters we need to avoid. (I can test the browsers but can't afford to buy the assistive technologies - particularly as I don't need them myself).

You can find my web-site at http://www.alexanderworks.org/ As I am new to all this, all critical feed-back would be appreciated.


At 21/01/02 12:07 -0700, you wrote:
>The accesskey attribute is supported in Netscape 6. On the Windows platform,
>you use the ALT + (the accesskey character). One thing that I have noticed
>is that the focus must first be on the web page itself before the accesskey
>will work. In other words, if you just bring up Netscape and go to a page
>with accesskeys specified, the accesskeys will not work until you either tab
>into the web page or click on it with your mouse.
>The WebAIM has a few accesskeys specified:
>1 = home page
>2 = skip navigation
>3 = printer version
>4 = index/search
>You'll notice that we used numbers rather than letters. I would have
>preferred to use letters, but, unfortunately, when you use letters, there is
>a much greater likelihood that you will interfere with pre-existing keyboard
>shortcuts in either the browser or the assistive technologies (e.g. JAWS,
>Home Page Reader).
>I have mixed feelings about accesskeys. The idea behind them is good, but
>implementation is difficult because of conflicts with other software and the
>great variability between different web sites. I admit that I almost never
>use the accesskeys on my own site. I forget that they even exist. Even when
>I remember that we have them, it's often just as easy to tab with a keyboard
>or click with a mouse. Still, we put them there to showcase the technique,
>if nothing else.
>By the way, I actually prefer the way that Netscape handles accesskeys. You
>don't need to do anything extra to make them work. In Internet Explorer in
>Windows, you have to use the keyboard shortcut then you have to hit enter.
>The extra step severely reduces the efficiency of the technique, in my
>Paul Bohman
>Technology Coordinator
>WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
>Utah State University
>-----Original Message-----
>From: WebAIM forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]On Behalf Of
>sam urquhart
>Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 11:18 AM
>To: WebAIM forum
>Subject: Access keys, ie6
>Hi All,
>I am currently working for a company that is creating multi-platform
>services for local
>authorities, and have found the WebAIM site extremely useful as reference.
>However, I have been trying to find the keyboard shortcut commands for
>access keys for ie6
>and have been unable to do so (I have searched your archives but haven't
>found this
>As I understand, ie 4 and 5 are as follows:
>Microsoft IE4 press 'alt' and letter at the same time
>Microsoft IE5 press 'alt' and letter then press enter
>is that right?
>I've also heard that this WAI initiative is now supported by Netscape 6. If
>so, what are
>the keyboard shortcuts for that?
>Thank you in advance
>-Sam Urquhartx
>To subscribe, unsubscribe, or view list archives,
>visit http://www.webaim.org/discussion/
>To subscribe, unsubscribe, or view list archives,
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Philip Pawley
Liverpool, UK

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