Accesskeys: Unlocking Hidden Navigation

by Stuart Robertson

126 Reader Comments

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  1. http://javascript.internet.com/navigation/key-launcher.html

    has a working JavaScript that allows one-key hotkeys. Look Ma, NO ALT KEY! I have modified a version of this to launch both scripts ( many based on my favorite bookmarklets such as a CSS file switcher ) an links ( such as the link to the index, help page, or NEXT page in a browsable catalog. ) IS anyone interested in such a .js file? Post here if you are. I will past my site’S URL if interest is demonstred here.

    my e-mail account is winjapan on y*hoo.com

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  2. Does anyone use, like, or distrust the JavaScript found on
    http://javascript.internet.com/navigation/key-launcher.html
    that launches links at the touch of a single key? This does not require Alt or Control keys! With modification, I use it to launch JavaScript functions at the touch of single keys. Imagine running a bookmarklet for your user when she types a single keystroke! I have used this to toggle table grid css files on and off for debugging in the design stage of my site. I also use it for zoom and NEXT/BACK keys in an on-line catalog containing a series of pages. KNow a better script or method to do this? Let everyone know. Let me know.

    Post comments here or write to me at winjapan on my com.yahoo account. (reversed to block spam)

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  3. dsfsd

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  4. Access keys are only valuable if there is a standard set across applications or if the same user frequents your site/application very often and has time to learn your accesskeys. Users don’t want to think about learning how to use your site, they just want to use it, and quickly. I develop web and windows applications and the majority of my daily users stick with the mouse even when accesskeys are available. Even after training only a very small percentage start using accesskeys, and then they only use the common ones they remember. They typically don’t search out any other accesskeys to use, that takes time and energy. Unless the user has a true need, such as a disability or repetative tasks, accesskeys will rarely be used by most of your users. As a develper, you perform the same repetative tasks day after day and quickly adapt to accesskeys to speed things up. Don’t make the mistake of comparing your skills and needs of those of the average user.

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  5. In one of the websites we built, we used the First letter approach to indicate the accesskey, just as your first suggestion. The only disadvantage you mention is that this requires you to add <em> to all your accesskeys.

    I have found another major disadvantage: some speech browsers will mispronounce the word, splitting it into two: “F” “irst”. Especially when indicating an accesskey that is not the first key, this can be very co n fusing (if you see what I mean).

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  6. Gareth Plevin wrote you shouldn’t use “F,E,V,A,T,H,G,B,W,N,M” as accesskeys since these are used in standard browsers to access the menus. I totally agree with him on that point.

    I want to point out however, that I don’t know what language my visitor’s browser uses. I’m Dutch myself, and most people here use a Dutch operating system where the File menu is called “Bestand” with accesskey B. This means in a Dutch Internet Explorer, you get a completely different set of accesskeys to exclude.

    Since I cannot predict what language the browser of my visitor is in, I cannot predict what letters will already be in use. And that’s just the browser. Who knows what other tools or assistive technology users have installed and attached accesskeys to which will be hijacked by accesskeys defined in a page…

    Unless and until user agents will disallow overwriting of the browsers accesskeys (or make this an option), I think it’s safer to stick to numerical accesskeys…

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  7. As mentioned earlier: why not using W3C’s HTML4-defined Link-types more often?

    Why can’t they make the function-keys available for using with accesskeys?

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  8. it seems to me tab is a better way to go for easy link access than access keys. unless you have a ton of links. access keys are limited too right? what happens if you have more than 100 links and wish to use access keys for all?

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  9. Good article in favor of using first letter accesskeys.

    http://www.smackthemouse.com/20021031

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  10. On an intranet-wep-application I wrote the accesskey-feature were only added in release 2 and not surprisingly: The user-experience increased quite a lot on release 2.

    On feature I like very much is to underline the letter of the accesskey, but my application uses buttons to submit web-forms.

    Up until now I haven’t been able to figure out a way to underline one letter of the text of a button. For now I add (x) behind the text on the button.

    I still have to look in to the full CSS2-specs if it’s possible, but if someone has any suggestion, ……

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  11. Hello, I just wanted to say you have a very informative site which really made me think, Thanks !

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  12. DiveIntoAccessibility.org suggests using some common access keys. By standardizing on a few, it’s easier to find the rest. They suggest:
    Access Key 1 = Home page
    Access Key 2 = Skip navigation link
    Access Key 9 = Contact us form
    Access Key 0 = Accessibility statement where, among other things, you can describe the rest of the access keys.
    Another link that suggests standardizing on some common access keys: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/forms/accesskey.html

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  13. This prototype usage of one-touch access keys links next and back to the present page.
    (+, -)

    For me, the developer, it can call report making scripts to list
    1. estimated download time.(q)
    2. images and alt properies.(m)
    3. all link href values. (l)

    I can also zoom the page of main gif. (i, o)

    Text is Japanese
    – look in html code for list of hotkeys in English.

    What are people’s thoughts on this?  It does not seem to interfere with Alt-F of Alt-E.  IT DOES not make any sense to use on any page with an input textbox since input becomes impossible.  THE JS file will be updated and reanemed… so do not link your site to it, folks!  If anyone would like to use the JS file, please write to me at my yahoo.com address about it.  If anyone can better the table functions, write me and we shall post or permanently host them FOR MOR DEVELOPERS TO USE!
    —Walter-

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  14. http://www.konoe.co.jp/neji/pro1/151004_00_0.html

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  15. This was a terrible article, but what do you expect from ALA? This is a typical Javascript job. Using CSS for behaviour is very stupid. This is going on my website on Friday.

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  16. Take a look at jstimes.vze.com….DC slammed this crappy article.

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