[thesite] Re: Read the article, and a usability issue with the site

aardvark roselli at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 1 20:38:04 CST 2001

Ben, I hope you don't mind, but I'm bringing this over to thesite (the 
list devoted to discussions of, well, the site) so that some others 
can have some input.  I think your points are good points, and I'd 
rather not make unilateral assertions without letting other people 
take a whack at my logic.

> > Yeah, we use 'accesskey' attributes on the form elements to meet WAI
> > and Bobby accessbility standards.
> After a few minutes' thought this occurred to me.  It's fantastic
> thing to do in principle, and I support it enthusiastically.

Good.  Dammit.

> I just question the wisdom of assimilating a macro that's already set
> aside for a function available to at least two-thirds of the site's
> users, since the same alt-key-combo is used in IE4 as well.  And those
> with impaired mobiilty will definitely use the macro in question (as I
> know firsthand, having discussed the subject some time back with a
> quadriplegic who used to - and may still - maintain a Geocities page).
> I personally am not impaired - I just like to keep both hands on the
> keyboard unless I'm just-browsing, and even then I often use the
> keyboard to navigate.

Agreed.  While my own testing with impaired users hasn't shown 
this, that suggests I need to do more testing.  One thing we might 
want to consider is gathering the alt-key combos from the major 
browsers and making those off-limits.

But that begs the question, what if we run out of letters?  Do we 
dump the accesskey attributes?  And who can we blame for this, 
browsers or us?  I need blame to made.

> > Unfortunately, we can't account for the how the browsers handle it,
> > and we also can't account for every letter in the alphabet
> > considering all the browsers out there.
> I suppose not, but one would think on the grounds of common sense that
> the Alt-key macros for NN & IE menu items would be used cautiously.

Agreed, but that's the thing about common sense, it's an 
oxymoron.  Either way, yes, I did consider that, but clearly my 
decision was based on my own perceptions.

So, is it better to kill the accesskeys or force users to use the 
mouse?  I don't know that answer...

> > We discussed this one for a while, and figured we'd try it.  You're
> > the first to specifically comment.
> ...Which bothers me, but that's another thought for another time.

That you're the first to comment on it?

Anyway, verboten letters from the windows browsers i use regularly:

IE5: f, e, v, a, t, h
N6: f, e, v, s, g, b, t, h
N3: f, e, v, g, b, o, d, w, h
O5: f, e, v, n, b, m, g, s, w, n

Any others?

More information about the thesite mailing list