Accesskeys Still an Issue – #accessibility #a11y

Excesskey Extension Screenshot

Excesskey Extension Screenshot

(X)HTML Accesskeys have existed for years, and through most of this time I’ve been pushing for WebApp / RIA centred accesskeys, or in reality accesskeys linked – not by a character – but by the semantics of the functionality that the key relates to. Just recently, Charles McCathieNevile (chaals) who works for Opera Software Standards Group has revisited the problem by creating an accesskeys extension for Opera 11 beta — documentation is available. You can see  our conversation and the extension features in the public W3C WAI UAWG Mail Archive starting with Chaals initial post and continuing with mine. In general the upshot of my view is that:

Maybe a taxonomy of common functionality would help here – “Save”, “Save As”, “Save Preferences” would all be in there but accesskey=”Save the Whales” would not. I’m sure this level of common functionality would be doable – indeed most OS come with common functionality added to the menu widget. In fact it could be cooler than that, such that if Opera were being used on mac it would convert “edit options” to “edit preferences”? If I make a user assignment that “edit preferences” are always [designated_browser_modifier-key]+p then I would always get this.

While I agree with Chaals that the ‘rel’ attribute can be used – I think accesskeys with a meaning from a common taxonomy will enable far better control of WebApps or RIA. Lets hope development continues and Chaals decides to implement something like this in the future.


One thought on “Accesskeys Still an Issue – #accessibility #a11y

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