WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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RE: Access keys, ie6


From: Paul Bohman
Date: Jan 22, 2002 12:23PM

>> Perhaps using digit keys is the only _safe_ way, and maybe the WebAIM
assignments could be made into some sort of "standard".

Having some sort of standard would be a good idea. Using the current WebAIM
site as a standard would be insufficient, because our site does not address
all of the possible or desirable types of shortcuts. Off the top of my head,
here is a list of common shortcuts that we could benefit from:

* Return to home page
* Skip navigation (go to main content)
* Site index
* Printer version
* Help/how to use this site
* Preferences/Accessibility options
* Contact information

Other types of sites would benefit from an additional set of shortcuts. For

* Products (for commercial sites)
* Technical support
* Downloads
* Log in

The list of potential shortcuts -- even for common links -- can get quite
lengthy. The truth of the matter is that the current specification for
keyboard shortcuts is insufficient and should be entirely rethought. Perhaps
the standard should be patterned after the menus in desktop applications.
Now we're getting into a theoretical issue, which won't help us out in the
short term.

Here are some final summary thoughts on accesskeys:

1. To the extent possible, use numbers rather than letters
2. Let your users know that the shortcuts exist (either by putting the text
on the page directly or including the information in an alt tag or link
3. There may be disagreement as to the most useful accesskeys, but I would
propose that one that is almost universally useful is "return to home page."

>>MicrosoftIE4 press 'alt' and letter at the same time
Microsoft I E5 press 'alt' and letter then press enter, is that right?"

I thought that I had a copy of IE4 around to test that on, but apparently my
last copy got upgraded, so I can't verify that information. IE 6 and 5.5
require that you press enter after the keyboard shortcut.

Paul Bohman
Technology Coordinator
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Utah State University

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