Log in   Register a New Account

Accessify Forum - Discuss Website Accessibility

New to the forum?

Only an email address is required.

Register Here

Already registered? Log In

Currently Online

No registered users are online.

Accessible Website Design :: Access Keys

  • Reply to topic
  • Post new topic

Should we deploy website access keys?

Yes! The W3C recommends it! 25%  25%  [ 8 ]

No! They cause too many problems! 58%  58%  [ 18 ]

Don't know! 16%  16%  [ 5 ]

Total Votes : 31

Reply with quote Everybody @ this forum knows the issues with access keys, and it might seem a bit old hat, but it wasn't until very recently (within the last year) that I truly understood the case.

I still use access keys but I may be about to stop using them because of the problems they cause.

My question (and poll) is - should we use access keys?

The W3C clearly says we should consider using them, and they should know more than all us put together!

I know they cause conflict, but shouldnt we (ie in the UK) just use UK Government Access Keys and force assistive software designers to leave out keys 1-10 from their shortcut keys? If we stick to a standard it will get (eventaully) recognised - will it not?

Or do you think the access keys system is just too flawed?


Last edited by Sandpetra on 03 Mar 2006 06:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
Reply with quote I've voted yes, but on the proviso that they are disabled by default and can be customised for the user's own preferences.

I'd still go for a grudging 'yes' if the UK Govt accesskeys standard is used, but I would say no for anything else.
Reply with quote Just for the record - I voted I don't know because --- well i don't - but hopefully this poll will shed a bit of light!
Reply with quote I voted 'don't know'

I feel that currently access keys are a little known and very confusing subject, those that use them have all sorts of different interpretations and therefore a web standard is called for. I am aware of the UK gov't standard, but how many webbies are Confused

Personally, I resist using them as I feel mouse and keyboard navigation should be good enough for most if not all users and can't really see the validity of access keys.

Mike Abbott
Accessible to everyone
Reply with quote I actually like implementing access keys and find that they are very useful espeically if you are very familiar with a site and you are aware of keyboard short cuts in the code (ie - 'go to the next page' in a tutorial, for example).
Reply with quote No.

The idea is flawed: the author shouldn't provide (device specific) shortcuts; the author should work with semantics, then the UA should extract the semantics and provide a usable navigation mechanism to the user.

Most implementations are flawed: they clatch with shortcuts in the UA or the OS (even if you only use 0-9 as accesskeys; ALT+1 should insert a white smiling face "☺" on windows systems).

Users can't rely on accesskeys: only a fraction of web sites use them, and those that do are obviously more or less inconsistent.

Use the rel="" attribute instead. And good link text.

Simon Pieters
Reply with quote A smiley face on windows? Well, we wouldnt want our access keys interfering with such an important shortcut (!) - forgive me, I'm an avid mac fan!

This is exactly what I mean - there should be standardisation but there wont be if we don't decide!
Reply with quote
Sandpetra wrote:
A smiley face on windows? Well, we wouldnt want our access keys interfering with such an important shortcut (!) - forgive me, I'm an avid mac fan!
Well, it was just an example. The point was that the way to insert characters that are not on the keyboard is to use ALT+number of character, like ALT+0223 for "ß", ALT+0425 for "©", etc.

Simon Pieters
Reply with quote No, for the same reason Zcorpan notes.

www.brucelawson.co.uk
Web Evanglist, Opera, WaSP Accesibility Task Force
Study the Web Standards Curriculum

International Lothario (retired)
Reply with quote I voted don't know.
Reply with quote RIGHT! This doesnt seem to be getting any clearer!!! Can we have a couple more moderator's opinions?

Cerbera?
Reply with quote I voted yes. The concept of accelerator keys is sound. It is the UA implementation that's faulty at the moment.

Last edited by terrence wood on 23 Feb 2006 12:08 am; edited 1 time in total
Reply with quote
JackP wrote:
I've voted yes, but on the proviso that they are disabled by default and can be customised for the user's own preferences.


I totally agree with this, hence one reason the accesskey class was created in the first place. the other being the clashing of keys set with other things, such as the browser itself!
Quote:
I'd still go for a grudging 'yes' if the UK Govt accesskeys standard is used, but I would say no for anything else.

I wouldn't, as has been pointed out, the alt + 0 is somewhat of a problem.

At one time John Foliot over at Wats.ca was keeping a list of the different uses that acesskey 's' was used for, I am sure it got into double figures...


By alllowing the visitor to set their own access keys they are more likely to be able to rmeember them, and probably use the same set on different sites. People have a difficult enough job trying to remember all the keyboard navigation keys that one progam can have, let alone a myriad of different sets of accesskeys on a ton of different sites.

my mind is on a permanent tangent
Reply with quote
Sandpetra wrote:
I know they cause conflict, but shouldnt we (ie in the UK) just use UK Government Access Keys and force assistive software designers to leave out keys 1-10 from their shortcut keys?


When using accesskeys, you have a choice: either (1) use only a predefined set, such as these 0-9 keys defined by the UK gov't, or (2) define access keys for your own site (perhaps sharing some of them with the "standard set").

Ad (1): I really don't see the added value of 10 predefined access keys as compared to the use of <link rel="..."> elements. Moreover, some of the predefined links may not be useful on my site, whereas I'd like to have other access keys that aren't in Her Majesty's list.

Ad (2): Defining things on a per site basis is likely to confuse visitors, unless they can be told clearly and in a consistent manner what the access keys on a given site are. For the sake of consistency, this should not be left solely to the site author. Nor should you have to use an access key to see access keys details. The only sensible solution is for the browser to put that information somewhere, e.g. in a panel next to the page.

I'm not afraid of conflict between access keys and browser functionality. It's up to the browser builders to invent a good implementation.

Perhaps when browsers offer a good user interface for access keys (like listing the access keys available on a page in a panel next to the page), I may reconsider. But for now, I don't think it's worth the effort.
Reply with quote I've chosen "No" for similar reasons fo Zcorpan. The data (a web page) should not determine device behaviour (such as what keys do what).

Also, the <link rel="" ... > elements provide an exhaustive range of destinations which UAs can easily implement into their interfaces. That is their intended purpose and what they are designed for. They can be a toggablable toolbar, a browser submenu, a sidebar or even be accessed directly by device-specific keyboard shortcuts.

However, some repetitive functions are not covered by <link> elements. For example, Preview and Submit on message forms. At Wikipedia they use S and P for these and, for the most part, that works very well. I've been using it in my Invision forum templates and it works well there, too.


The problem is resolving conflicts between access keys being used by the data and the same access keys already in use by the device. Convoluting the keyboard shortcut to use data access keys (Shift+Alt+Accesskey) is one solution. Toggling the device input mode (such as using Shift+Esc in Opera) is another solution. Having this toggle as a user preference which is saved between sessions is probably the least of a hack for UAs to implement.

It's unlikely that good UA implementation of access keys will ever become widespread due to them requiring the data to take control of the device. I think they can be useful in edge cases like Preview and Submit on messaging systems but that's about it.

Display posts from previous:   

Page 1 of 2

Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT

  • Reply to topic
  • Post new topic